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Hardware Hacking

Building a Telegraph Using Only Stone Age Materials 238

MMBK writes "It's the ultimate salvagepunk experiment, building a telegraph out of things found in the woods. From the article: 'During the summer of 2009, artist Jamie O’Shea of the organization Substitute Materials set out to test whether or not electronic communication could have been built at any time in history with the proper knowledge, and with only tools and materials found in the wilderness of New Jersey.'"
Social Networks

Meg Whitman Campaign Shows How Not To Use Twitter 147

tsamsoniw writes "California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's campaign team attempted to share with her Twitter followers an endorsement from a police association. Unfortunately, the campaign press secretary entered an incorrect or incomplete URL in the Tweet, which took clickers to a YouTube video featuring a bespectacled, long-haired Japanese man in a tutu and leggings rocking out on a bass guitar. And for whatever reason, the Tweet, which went out on the 18th, has remained active through today."

Frustrated Reporter Quits After Slow News Day 178

Norwegian radio journalist Pia Beathe Pedersen quit on the air complaining that her bosses were making her read news on a day when "nothing important has happened." Pedersen claimed that broadcaster NRK put too much pressure on the staff and that she "wanted to be able to eat properly again and be able to breathe," during her nearly two-minute on-air resignation.

Shakespeare In Klingon? 80

stevegee58 writes "As if the Klingon opera described recently here at Slashdot weren't enough, here's an interesting offering for Shakespeare buffs. The Washington Shakespeare Company (based in Arlington VA) will soon be performing selections from Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing in Klingon."
Classic Games (Games)

Researchers Reprogram Voting Machine To Run Pac-man 132

Philom writes "Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated that electronic voting machines can be reprogrammed to steal votes, so when researchers Alex Halderman and Ari Feldman got their hands on a machine called the Sequoia AVC Edge, they decided to do something different: they reprogrammed it to run Pac-Man. As states move away from insecure electronic voting, there's a risk that discarded machines will clog our landfills. Fortunately, these results show that voting machines can be recycled to provide countless hours of entertainment."

Southwest Adds 'Mechanical Difficulties' To Act Of God List 223

War, earthquakes, and broken washers are all unavoidable events for which a carrier should not be liable if travel is delayed according to Southwest Airlines. Southwest quietly updated their act of God list a few weeks ago to include mechanical problems with the other horrors of an angry travel god. From the article: "Robert Mann, an airline industry analyst based in Port Washington, NY, called it 'surprising' that Southwest, which has a reputation for stellar customer service, would make a change that puts passengers at a legal disadvantage if an aircraft breakdown delays their travel. Keeping a fleet mechanically sound 'is certainly within the control of any airline,' Mann said. 'Putting mechanical issues in the same category as an act of God — I don't think that's what God intended.'"

Comment Re:The free world isn't so free anymore... (Score 1) 601

Well at least I'm introducing numbers and trade-offs into the equation. That's something we need a lot more of in security discussions - it is usually just emotion and guesswork.

The Israeli model depends on well-trained people, well-organized airports and well-tested plans. Making that work with hundreds of airports large and small, thousands of planes and hundreds of thousands of people would require a huge investment in time and money.

Even if you could scale just FAMS to handle every flight, why would you? Let's get back to question you asked at the start of this thread: Is it cost effective?

What threats would they guard against? Regular crimes and unruly passengers? As noted above, they don't seem to be doing much of that. How about folks like the shoe bomber? He was first detected by the person seated next to him, and subdued by nearby passengers. An air marshal riding in the front could have joined in, but wasn't necessary.

What about the guy who might try to hijack the plane with a box cutter? That hasn't worked for nine years - reinforced cockpit doors and passenger awareness have taken care of that.

So, to summarize: is FAMS, in its current incarnation, worth the money? I say no. Would FAMS with air marshals on every flight be worth it? I really, really doubt it. Would an air marshal program consisting of a dozen guys and a lot of fake publicity about how many there are be worth it? Maybe - it's security theater, but it'd be cheap security theater.

It's this very expensive security theater we have right now that is the real stupidity.

Comment Re:The free world isn't so free anymore... (Score 1) 601

What metric would you propose? Spending $200 million per arrest would seem to indicate that there just isn't that much crime to prevent.

And there is no way to measure how effective FAMS is against terrorist attacks. The smart terrorists are not going to be deterred by the low odds of riding with an air marshal. The stupid terrorists probably don't even know they exist.

The comments in the Schneier post do a good job of exploring this. It seems likely that there are better ways of spending almost a billion dollars a year.

Comment Re:Banks here in Finland uses one-time codes (Score 2, Interesting) 193

the only way I can conceive this to be hacked ...
Always a dangerous statement - just because you can't think of an attack doesn't mean there isn't one.

You are correct that no one is going to guess the next one-time password. Instead, they are going to attack your machine, and piggyback on your session after you have logged in. This is happening in the wild today, although it's mostly aimed at larger commercial accounts.

Those keypads are more secure because they can be used to enter unique data for each transaction, like the amount of a transfer. Plus, they aren't connected to a network, so remote hacks are blocked. The keypad's generated code will definitively prove that the holder of the device entered the transaction data(*).

Obligatory Schneier reading:

(*) The most likely attack against devices like this: the key stored on the bank's server. But it's just a single target, so it is easier to harden.


Aral Sea May Recover; Dead Sea Needs a Lifeline 131

An anonymous reader writes "It's a tale of two seas. The drying up of the Aral Sea is considered one of the greatest environmental catastrophes in history, but the northern sector of the sea, at least, is showing signs of life. A dam completed in 2005 has increased the North Aral's span by 20 percent, and birds, fish, and people are all returning to the area. Meanwhile, the Dead Sea is still in the midst of precipitous decline, since too much water is being drawn out of the Jordan River for thirsty populations and crops. To keep the sea from shrinking more, scientists are pushing an ambitious scheme called the 'Red-Dead conduit,' which would channel huge amounts of water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. However, the environmental consequences of such a project may be troubling."

Flash Builder 4 — Defective By Design? 66

ApolloX writes "Adobe has released its new version of the Flex Builder, now renamed Flash Builder 4. This version is radically different from previous versions of Flex, introducing the new Spark architecture and theme support. While I am pleased Adobe has finally added support for Eclipse 3.5, I am disappointed with some of the new architecture changes that make doing simple things, such as skinning a button, now quite cumbersome."

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