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Comment *yawn* (Score 5, Informative) 13

This is a second-order attack that only affects MDM clients, and then only if they've installed a rogue app AND the MDM is pre-provisioning with sensitive data. It's also already patched. It's easy to check the OS version on iOS devices tied to an MDM so that the IT department knows which ones need updates.

Nice catch on the security side, but not a real humdinger.


Comment A matter of priorities (Score 3, Insightful) 212

The US government has lost sight of the larger issue here. The tail (NSA and law enforcement) is wagging the dog.

The NSA and law enforcement agencies want to be able to intercept anything, since it makes their jobs easier. However, this runs counter to the larger national interest of the United States.

Which country has the highest level of connectedness and dependence on the Internet? Which country would be worst hurt if a sophisticated attacker was able to penetrate and conduct malicious actions using the systems connected to the Internet? The US, that's who. It is by far in the US's overall national interest to properly secure the Internet and communications infrastructure. Eavesdropping on everyone else is a secondary benefit, in comparison.

The proper role of the President and the Attorney General is to separate the desire of the NSA and law enforcement to make their jobs easier from the greater benefit to the country as a whole. They need to tell the ambitious underlings "NO" in unequivocal terms, then bitch slap them if they keep whining about it.


Comment Accessibility for Apple and Microsoft products (Score 1, Informative) 100

You didn't say what platform, but this has been an on-going emphasis for both Apple and Microsoft for a long time.

For OS X and iOS, see


For Windows, see


Hope this helps.


Comment End-to-End Audible Voting Systems (Score 1) 480

FFS, doesn't anyone do any research before posting stories? 60 seconds of research would turn up the Wikipedia entry on End-to-end audible voting systems. The problem of being able to verify that your vote is recorded as you intended without revealing the actual content of your vote has been solved by several teams. The ones that seem to have the best handle on things are Scantegrity, Pret-a-Voter, and Punchscan (the predecessor of Scantegrity) .

Using Bitcoin (which in fact has anti-anonymity properties) as an engine for voting is like attaching a tractor to a horse carriage. It may get you where you want to go, but it's nothing like a proper motor vehicle.


Comment Really, really weak evidence (Score 4, Informative) 158


The evidence here is really, really weak. The connection is tenuous enough and the original pool of possible suspects via their methodology is large enough that I sure as heck wouldn't rule out a connection via random chance. Until we get better evidence, this isn't worth very much.

Norse Security says as much in The Fine Article:

Stammberger was careful to note that his company's findings are hardly conclusive, and may just add wrinkles to an already wrinkled picture of what happened at Sony Pictures. He said Norse employees will be briefing the FBI on Monday about their findings.

"They're the investigators," Stammberger said. "We're going to show them our data and where it points us. As far as whether it is proof that would stand up in a court of law? That's not our job to determine, it is theirs," he said of the FBI.


Comment It's not a tank (Score 1) 163

Geez how the press gets this sort of thing so wrong. It's not a tank, it's an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). It's lightly armored against small arms and small-bore auto-cannon rounds, not against ATGMs, tank main guns, or RPGs.


The weight at 34 tonnes is much less than that of any current front-line tank (according to Wikipedia the Challenger 2 is 62.5 tonnes, almost double the Scout SV). It is a lot heavier than most current IFV's (e.g., the German Marder at 28 tonnes or BMP-3 at 18.7 tonnes), but that may not be such a good thing. It makes strategic mobility more of a problem and ensures that the Scout SV can't swim across rivers by itself.

Some reporter just cut and pasted from the press release. Feh!


Comment Full course available online (Score 4, Informative) 144


My son took the course last year as a senior in high school via iTunesU.


It's also available on EdX.


Heck, I took it way back thirty-odd years ago. :-)

Also, here's a link to the original article in the Harvard Crimson:



Comment Suggestions for the Apple technologist (Score 3, Informative) 131

In chronological order looking forward:

MacTech Boot Camps - http://www.mactech.com/bootcam...
Small, local, inexpensive. Check to see if there's one close to you.

MacTech Conference - http://www.mactech.com/confere...
Larger, both sysadmin and developer tracks

MacIT - http://www.macitconf.com/
Larger, multiple tracks and levels of knowledge

WWDC - https://developer.apple.com/ww...
The granddaddy of them all, but next to impossible to get into these days. Mostly developer focused. May not be useful if you don't already have a deep knowledge base.

MacAdmins - http://macadmins.psu.edu/
The most education-focused of the conferences. Very knowledgeable presenters.

FWIW, I've been a presenter at MacTech Boot Camps, MacIT, and WWDC.


Submission + - Evernote Hit by Hackers (evernote.com)

plsuh writes: "Evernote is the latest victim of an attack. According to their website,

"In our security investigation, we have found no evidence that any of the content you store in Evernote was accessed, changed or lost. We also have no evidence that any payment information for Evernote Premium or Evernote Business customers was accessed.

"The investigation has shown, however, that the individual(s) responsible were able to gain access to Evernote user information, which includes usernames, email addresses associated with Evernote accounts and encrypted passwords. Even though this information was accessed, the passwords stored by Evernote are protected by one-way encryption. (In technical terms, they are hashed and salted.)"

No indication as to the hashing mechanism — is it a simple, easily brute forced MD-5 or is it a harder, more secure PBKDF2, Bcrypt, or Scrypt with lots of rounds? Anyway, Evernote has reset the passwords of all of the affected users."

Comment Remove dad's admin privs (Score 1) 320

Lots of good advice so far, but one more item -- since your father has turned sysadmin tasks over to you, once you wipe and re-install, set up his account on the computer so that it is a restricted user account, not an admin account. If he isn't doing sysadmin tasks then he doesn't need the privs and this limits the amount of damage that a scammer can do to the computer. (Although getting his SSN and other info is still really bad.)


Comment iOS has encryption and management built-in (Score 4, Informative) 138

I'm a former Apple engineer, current independent consultant, so I'm not going to address the Android side. That's a lot more complicated -- I'll stick with talking about the iOS info that I know about.

That said, wow, there's a lot of snarky comments but not a lot of information posted.

iOS has full-device hardware encryption built-in on the iPhone 3GS and later, activated as soon as you set up a passcode. This top-level encryption layer is for quick device wipes, not for data protection. Each user data file is then encrypted on top of that using its own unique key, then set into a protection class by the app developer:

  - Complete Protection - decrypted only when the device is unlocked; file key is removed from memory when the device is locked.

  - Protected Unless Open - decrypted when the device is unlocked; if file is open when the device locks, the file stays open/decrypted.

  - Protected Until First User Authentication - decrypted on first unlock, stays decrypted until reboot

  - No Protection - file system encryption only; no per-file encryption key

Apple has really been on developers cases to tighten down the data protection classes for their apps on iOS.

In addition, iOS has a huge number of remote management options. Apple provides a basic management tool called Profile Manager in Lion Server, and there are third-party Mobile Device Managers (MDMs) that take the basics and go even further. You can force complex passcodes, pre-configure e-mail accounts, restrict usage of features, and so on. The enterpriseios.com site has a pretty complete listing.

One of the cool things about using iOS MDM is that all of the configuration profiles are tied to the management profile that gets installed when the device is first enrolled with the MDM. If you're in a BYOD situation and a user leaves on bad terms, the IT department can retract the management profile, which automatically retracts all of the other configuration profiles. This will delete corporate e-mail accounts, remove in-house apps (and their data!), take away VPN and 802.1X access, and so on, without erasing the person's device entirely. All of the pictures the person took are still there, not blown away as they would be after a complete device wipe.

Anyway, a few links that may help you out:

http://consultants.apple.com/index.php - look for consultants with the Mobility specialization
https://help.apple.com/advancedserveradmin/mac/10.7/ - go into "Manage Users" --> "Profile Manager" on the right

Hope this helps.


Submission + - City of Boston pays $170,000 to settle landmark case involving man arrested for (aclum.org) 1

Ian Lamont writes: "The City of Boston has reached a $170,000 settlement with Simon Glik who was arrested by Boston Police in 2007 after using his mobile phone to record police arresting another man on Boston Common. Police claimed that Glik had violated state wiretapping laws, but later dropped the charges and admitted the officers were wrong to arrest him. Glik had brought a lawsuit against the city (aided by the ACLU) because he claimed his civil rights were violated. According to today's ACLU statement:

As part of the settlement, Glik agreed to withdraw his appeal to the Community Ombudsman Oversight Panel. He had complained about the Internal Affairs Division's investigation of his complaint and the way they treated him. IAD officers made fun of Glik for filing the complaint, telling him his only remedy was filing a civil lawsuit. After the City spent years in court defending the officers' arrest of Glik as constitutional and reasonable, IAD reversed course after the First Circuit ruling and disciplined two of the officers for using "unreasonable judgment" in arresting Glik.


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