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Comment Re:These two may have been least at risk (Score 1) 52

There are plenty of people I know who would fall for this, because they simply don't know. They were issued a laptop for work and were told it was secured through a VPN, but don't understand how networks or routing actually works. They think they're secure only because an expert told them that VPNs are secure.

And not all VPNs are secure. Corporate VPN solutions are increasingly looking to split tunnelling to cut costs: internal corporate IP addresses are correctly routed to the VPN tunnel interface, so things like internal email and corporate web sites are all secured, but the external IP addresses (Google, Microsoft, Slashdot, etc.,) are left to route through the local gateway, reducing bandwidth through the corporate network. So if your wireless adapter connects to a WiFi Pineapple using one of those corporate laptops (thinking it's connecting to a conference AP or something), the rogue AP will faithfully route the still-secure VPN traffic to the proper corporate headquarters servers, but it will just as happily MiTM the rest of the regular unsecured traffic, scanning for credentials, cookies, API keys, or whatever other external sites the computer may happen to access. They could expose personal email account credentials, various web apps, DNS requests, discovery packets, or other loud network traffic. And this allows scenarios where the browser gets cache poisoned while browsing the unsecured web, then used to connect to an internal corporate web site where the malicious cached javascript echoes all the booty back to the attacker.

Of course, you expect the tech folks at the RSA conference would know how it all works, but a significant fraction of the attendees are not tech employees. There are no doubt many finance people; executives with expense accounts and instructions to "come back with a security contract"; salespeople; politicians; and the press in attendance.

I just hope the guys with the rogue access points are no worse than gray hats who are posting them on a Wall of Sheep somewhere at the conference, and not actually hacking the attendees.

Comment Re:Attack Software (Score 1) 489

Well if you want to be a pendant, it works better if you are correct.

So the 5V on my arduino is a measure of its ESD tolerance? Bullshit!

In datasheets, they specify ESD tolerance as a voltage: A standardized capacitor (with a specified capacity, ESR and possibly ESL) is charged to the indicated voltage and the device is supposed to tolerate the discharge.

But voltage in itself has nothing to do with ESD.

Comment Re:Artificial language limits (Score 1) 374

Any language that could replace C and assembler would need to be statically compiled. So for Java, C#, Python and so on you'd have to define a subset that does not require a runtime parser or standard library. And you'd need extensions (or a static module system) that allows you to add assembler for direct hardware access. And a new compiler that can generate static code instead of the intermediate VM they target now. Not impossible by any means and probably a fairly interesting exercise too, but the languages would end up rather different and more restricted than the full versions people are used to.

Rather, I expect and hope that something like Rust will eventually supplant these languages in this space. Rust gives you the best of both worlds, with a statically compiled binaries and good memory safety at compile time, rather than runtime. You pay for it by having to be much more explicit about ownership than in these languages though. I've followed that project for a good while and it's clear that targeting small embedded systems is a struggle even for such a language; Java and friends would be much more difficult still.

Comment Re:Artificial language limits (Score 1) 374

FORTH is the rare language that tends to be even more memory efficient than C. The runtime interpreter is truly minimal (really just following a bunch of jump tables); you can have a small environment and application code in less than 8K.

On the other hand - and I say this as someone who likes FORTH a lot - you'd be hard pressed to find people claiming that FORTH is any higher-level (or easier to develop in) than C or assembler.

On the third hand - and off-topic here - it's quite a fun little language to use. Just like you can say that Scheme is programming directly in an AST, using FORTH is writing code directly for a stack machine. It's probably good for you to have a bit of experience even if you never do anything "real" with it.

Comment Re:They said the same about mobile (Score 3, Informative) 374

The high-level VMs and the drivers to drive the specific hardware isn't developed by magical Low-Level Elves in Happy Rainbow Fairly Land. Every IoT device is going to have their oen special hardware stuff, and somebody needs to write the low-level code to interface with it. That is done in a combination of C and assembler.

Also, at volume the price difference between a MCU that can run a VM and one that can not will be on the order of tens of cents (either currency). If you plan to make on the order of a million devices, then 20 cents per unit will more than pay for a programmer that knows to use the small MCU over a Java hack that does not.

Comment Re:How the hell is this still a problem? (Score 2) 49

No, the whole point of Chip and PIN is the use of symetric key cryptography to generate a one time transaction with no need to share account details to the terminal. Basically the same thing as Apply Pay/etc. do, but embedded in a passive chip instead of requiring an active device.

This is not correct. Chip cards use cryptography only to produce a "cryptogram" called the ARQC. This is a Message Authentication Code, a checksum-like number that authenticates the card containing the secret key produced the message. By adding a PIN, the card can also fold the PIN into the cryptogram, authenticating the user, too. However, the card data, including the PAN is still sent in the clear for authorizing. The chip does not encrypt the card data.

Also, the chip is not passive. The chip contains a CPU and performs lots of cryptography, including validating the certificate presented by the terminal, the selection of various applications, protocol negotiations, etc. (And because that chip runs Java, every card issued gets to tithe Oracle for the privilege.)

But because of stupid, we use a crippled system that still allows that system to be bypassed with simple swipes and no crypto between the card and the terminal.

For the most part the data does not need to be encrypted. The payment terminal is responsible for rejecting a swipe that has a Service Code indicating that a chip is present, so you can't just bypass the chip. The skimmer only sees the data flow past, but has no way of computing valid ARQC because the secret key remains embedded securely in the chip. As long as the user doesn't have to also enter the CVV2 from the back of the card, there's not enough information to abuse the card. (Any web page that accepts an account number without requiring the CVV2 is out of compliance with PCI requirements, and is liable for any fraud committed with that card number.)

However, if the payment terminal doesn't encrypt the data before sending it to the store's payment gateway (let alone from the terminal to the cash register), that's still plenty of stupid.

Comment Re:ARBY'S (Score 1) 49

A breach that impacted 355,000 member cards is huge, indicating it was deployed to a large percentage of their chain, if not the whole chain. Since their breach "ended" on January 19 and it still took them 3 weeks to produce the list of affected cards, that tells me that Arby's response time is pretty damn poor, and that they may not be very good at tracking what's going on. Some senior VP said that "not all [of their 1000] corporate restaurants [out of 4000] were affected", but with news this bad combined with such a poor response time, it's hard to trust that they have a complete handle on the problem.

So, IF YOU ATE THE MEATS, it's a pretty good bet that your card got eaten too. Watch your statements.

Now that Arby's has submitted their list of impacted cards to the card associations, Visa or Mastercard will soon contact your bank. Your bank will then send you a letter saying "haxx0rs! Too bad, here's a new card, and if you want to sign up for a year of free credit monitoring, contact ohshitwewerebreached.com and tell them R.B sent you."

Comment Re: Credit card fraud? I'm thinking Arby's! (Score 1) 49

How does it only effect ards issued by one bank.if it was malware on the PoS machines?

The thieves likely stole numbers from any and all cards that ran through their infected payment terminals.

PCSU isn't a single bank, it's an association of about 800 credit unions. Arby's didn't report the number above, that came from PCSU's count of impacted member cards. They said 355,000 cards were impacted, a figure that does not include any other cards issued by any other banks. If those 800 member banks represent 10% of all cardholders (I don't know that for sure, that's just a rough guess to demonstrate the math), it's possible that this breach could impact a total of about 3 million cardholders.

Comment Re:Blowing smoke? (Score 2) 92

The value I got from Design Patterns is that these were describing the solutions to actual problems I had already had to solve on my own (often not as well), and they covered the side effects of those solutions, some of which I hadn't thought too much about before reading the book. (The observer pattern creates hidden long-term maintenance dependencies on the semantics of the data published by the subject, for example. That was really useful to me when I hadn't yet recognized the problem.)

However, once it was published it seemed that every Tom, Dick, and Bjarne published a book like "23 More Design Patterns" "Web 2.0 Design Patterns", "Design Patterns that Won't Clash With Stripes and Pastels", "Summer Design Patterns to Take to the Beach", etc. They were so specialized as to be almost entirely useless. Yes, the GoF book had a few shortcomings, but its real value to me came from the idea that we could name these things, study them, and understand them. When I read it in the 1990s I thought that was pretty darn novel.

Comment Re:A minimal C++ library (Score 2) 92

The hell do you need all of them for?

To broaden your skillset? To be more effective at what you do? To write more maintainable code? To make fewer errors? To interact with your peers? More specific to C++ and those particular books, to prevent race conditions, to have strong error handling, and to make more efficient use of multiple core processors? Perhaps most importantly, so that when the company hires a snot-nosed kid who actually does know and practice these things, that he won't show you up as the fossil you're describing yourself as?

I've been programming since 1976, and I think it's fair to say that computers have changed since then. If you think that programming now is anything like programming 20 years ago, you haven't been paying nearly enough attention.

Comment Happy with DynDNS until they sold to Oracle (Score 1) 27

I had a domain registered to DynDNS for 10 years (5 at a time) because I was really happy with them, particularly back when they did free domains based off of subdomains on dyndns.org: that was a really helpful and useful feature so I supported them by actually paying for a domain long-term.

However the moment they were bought by Oracle I *IMMEDIATELY* put in a Transfer Request. The reason: Oracle I consider to be one of the world's most unethical companies, up there with Broadcom and Qualcom for various semi-illegal corporate practices and outright power-abuses. If you're not familiar with the stories behind OpenOffice, MySQL, VirtualBox (which forces people to sign over total rights and ownership of code contributions), and BerkeleyDB (change of license to an unacceptable one that's incompatible with Software Libre, forcing Debian to pull latest versions: many projects have converted to LMDB as a result) - the list goes on and on. If you're not familiar with these stories I recommend you *get* familiar, fast, and drop all dependency on Oracle as fast as you practically can. They poison every company they buy, including, sadly, Sun Microsystems.

Comment Re:What about the actual code? (Score 4, Interesting) 77

If DRM is ever successful, it won't be due to companies like Denuvo. Effective DRM requires some critical-path hardware to be complicit in the hiding of a secret from the device's owner. It can't just be pasted-on code that says "check for a valid dongle", because the attackers patch around that. The hardware has to hide something of great importance to the operation of the application, something that can't simply be replicated by software.

Denuvo makes it hard to crack, but without the hardware's participation, it will never be impossible.

Comment Re:What are the known risks (Score 2) 122

It sounds like they're describing ScotchGard, a surface treatment whose key ingredient was PFOS.

As far as your other questions, measuring direct contact of one burger wrapper with one person's blood levels isn't how these studies are typically done. There are too many variables: how long was the food in contact with the wrapper, how much surface area of the wrapper actually came in contact with how much surface area of the food, what kind of food, how many liquids from the food soaked into the paper and were returned to the food, etc. Another problem is the levels in the individual interactions are so low that they're difficult to measure. Instead, they look at the prevalence of the chemical in the environment, and the levels of the chemical in the blood of members of the population over time. But that means the data won't allow them to draw detailed conclusions, such as "Burger Chain's wrappers for their Big Beef Burger deliver 3x more PFAS than Taco Chain's wrappers for their Bottomless Burrito."

And it turns out the details of individual interactions don't matter much because the solution is almost always a broad spectrum approach: once they determine the link between levels of PFAS in the blood and rates of diseases, they'll simply ban the substance entirely from all products, not just food wrappers. ScotchGard was never used to treat food wrappers - it was used to make furniture, carpeting, and fabrics stain resistant - yet we all ended up with PFOS in our blood as a result of it simply being in the environment.

The good news is that bans are an effective approach. Once the substance is banned, measured levels of it in the population decline.

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