Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Comment Re:Fire(wall) and forget (Score 1) 348

A port no one is listening on is a damn wall. It does not do anything. It isn't a doorway. It's a blank featureless wall.

This too is wrong. To continue the metaphor, a port no one is listening on is a door with a deadbolt thrown on it. Anyone inside the house can open it up whenever they feel like it and start moving furniture in or out. A firewall can - at your option - leave it that way, add a fingerprint reader to the inside or brick up the doorway.

Comment Re:Run a completely new OS? (Score 5, Interesting) 257

When your 500GB "disk" is directly addressable on the system bus and has the same latency as RAM, some of the design decisions in existing *nix look a bit questionable. Example: Does the additional work of implementing virtual memory (fundamental to most kernels) still make sense? How necessary is a file system *at all*? Could it be replaced with some other method of indexing data?

You certainly could just stick most of the storage in a ramdisk and run linux, but there might be massive performance gains to be had in the file (data?) serving and database spaces if the server software and the kernel it's running on are designed specifically for stable direct addressing of everything.

Comment Re:sure, but.. (Score 1) 261

You missed a word:

"Let me be clear – as in the physical space, cyber security CAN ONLY come at the expense of cyber privacy."

But as many others have noted, attempts are made to obscure or even reverse the perception of this tradeoff at every level. Heaven forbid anyone outside of our government should have to make an informed decision about this.

Comment Oh good (Score 5, Insightful) 115

Without details about the attack vector and attacker behavior during and after the breach, we're left with "Well, someone broke in to their servers using [redacted] and then they did [redacted]." Totally frickin' useless for me when trying to secure our sites: "There's this horrible emerging threat that can fry your brand overnight, but we won't tell you what it is or give enough details for you to defend against it."

Meanwhile, the guys in timbucktooistan can now order the proven exploit kit from their favorite BBS.


Comment Re: hemoglobin test (Score 1) 282

Hmmm... Those studies concluded that the highly competent tend to overestimate the abilities of others, while the incompetent tend to underestimate them. Now, my argument was that everyone should at least not be prevented from using the (rather extensive) resources available to them to guide their own medical treatment. I take it you're arguing that my bias is preventing me from perceiving that most people are hopeless tools that would damage themselves if they attempted this? I suppose that's possible, but still think it should be allowed.

Comment Re:hemoglobin test (Score 4, Insightful) 282

Man, I hope you aren't anywhere near the legislative process. People like you are why we can't have nice things.

I have ten times more motivation and available time to research than my doctor does; he's just trying to last through his 80 patients a day and not kill anyone. His training and experience are certainly valuable, but for the most part when I'm talking to a doctor s/he's either (a) a generalist with a little bit of familiarity with me and a little bit of familiarity with what might be wrong with me, or (b) a specialist that knows a great deal about one particular thing that *might* be wrong with me but knows exactly dick about me personally.

I, on the other hand, have excellent computer skills and search fu, can read, understand and critique research in some disciplines (a skill that is highly transferable, by the way), and know a great deal about myself. I'd *much* rather be able to manage my own treatment and consult with a doctor when I need insight or specialized skills.

Comment Re:world ramifications... (Score 3, Insightful) 388

Breaking the law and a patent disregard constitutional rights is a "flaw"? It's not "evil" to make a secret court that makes secret laws that nobody is allowed to see?

I think I'm as concerned about the NSA's overreach as the next guy, but it should be noted here that it wasn't the NSA that established those secret courts and National Security Letters; it was our Congress.

Comment The Financial Times (Score 4, Insightful) 239


Their focus is mostly financial, but I really enjoy their world news reporting. Whenever I pick up a "normal" paper here, even (especially?) one of the "big" ones, it seems that they're trying to sell me an extreme viewpoint - and maybe some male enhancement products to go with it - rather than actually impart any information. The FT is much more reporting like I remember it used to be. Maybe because they actually charge enough for their paper to cover their costs.

Comment Re:The Horror! (Score 1) 325

Sounds like the government already has a nice thick file on you. So, you're perfectly welcome to enroll in Secure Flight, add another half-ream to the file, and have them treat you only half as badly. So are any of those other folk you mentioned. And for those of us that don't want that, why should we give up the last few tattered shreds of the illusion of privacy just to satisfy some bureaucrat's desire for efficiency?

I find it somewhat reassuring that I can still encounter a government employee who doesn't know my shoe size before I walk in the door. Even if that is really just an illusion these days, it's one I treasure.

Comment Re:Another reason I no longer fly. (Score 1) 298

Yes, definitely. I personally decided not to make at least eight flights (that I undoubtedly would have made) since they started this stupid crap, and only made the three flights I did because there was no practical way around being physically present outside reasonable driving distance. Of the people I know, I would guess at least half have cancelled or avoided at least one flight they would otherwise have taken recently, representing a significant fraction of their overall travel.

Flying in the U.S. is a godawful degrading experience these days. I remember when it used to be exciting. Frickin' sucks.

Comment Re:I patch the patch! (Score 1) 110


In my hypothetical offline-validator scenario, it doesn't have to scale because it's not running at transaction time. Go ahead and reset the password, generate a bunch of new fake hashes and store the index of the "real" one in the same log that will be picked up for validation later on. With asymmetric encryption, the log could be stolen outright and be of no use at all to an attacker.

That said, I'd probably lean towards an online validator just so I could stick attackers in a honeypot and keep them from messing with my users. Though, as someone else pointed out here, by far the most likely use for the stolen passwords is not on my site, but to use them to log into bank accounts.

Comment Re:This is an ok idea, definitely not a great one (Score 4, Informative) 110

Some responses (informed by the actual paper):

The second DB doesn't have any of the the password hashes, it just knows which one is correct. It's a single table of (userid, hashid) where hashid is just some small integer.

The idea seems to be that the second system can be a smaller, less complicated single-function server, easier to harden and could be running a different OS/Webserver/DB stack. You could (by sacrificing real-time validation) even have the second system entirely firewalled off and unreachable to an attacker, just polling the login servers to validate the sessions at some small interval.

If the second system goes down, one approach would be to just accept any of the passwords until it comes back up. Then check the logs of what happened while it was offline and act accordingly (invalidate sessions, raise alarms, whatever).

Overall, I like the idea tremendously. It seems like it's not quite all there yet, but we're probably going to start implementing some variant of it immediately.

Slashdot Top Deals

"There is no statute of limitations on stupidity." -- Randomly produced by a computer program called Markov3.