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Comment I learned a lot from these things... (Score 1) 182

I have taken a bunch of different courses on Coursera. I didn't realize they were tracking completion rates - I just watch the videos, in order to learn something. I don't really care about the certificate, because it's worthless to me, so I'm not particularly strict about taking the quizzes or completing any of the graded work. The knowledge - that's worth a lot to me. I guess I don't know what their goals were in the first place, but I hardly consider them a failure. I have learned a lot of interesting things - and sure the information is already out there for free, but I sure appreciate having an instructor (in some cases, pretty famous professors) guiding me on what to go and learn. Of course, maybe they have a savvy business plan to "monetize the content". If that's the case, then yeah I suppose it's a failure so far.

Comment Dual_EC is not mandatory (Score 1) 201

Dual_EC_DRBG is *not* mandatory under FIPS 140-2. As of today (January 1), some of the older RNGs are no longer permitted for new FIPS validations, effectively leaving you with only SP800-90A (DRBG). However, there are four different DRBGs contained within 800-90A. Nothing says you need to implement all four of them. One is good enough. Out of the four, only one of them (Dual_EC) is considered suspect.

Comment I am a pilot... (Score 4, Insightful) 195

Nothing stops these UAVs from flying in the same airspace as planes carrying people - all it takes is a little software malfunction. They are small and hard to see, aren't in radio contact with air traffic controllers, and don't show up on radar. There's a reason the government is concerned about them, and I suspect it's not about supressing truth.

Comment BS (Score 1) 169

Does the author actually know anything about cryptography? When the slides make reference to 128-bit and 256-bit, they are talking about *strength*, not number of bits. A 512-bit hash produces something with 256 bits of strength. In addition, let's keep in mind that the NSA has zero interest in making crypto weaker. Their interest (speaking of the SIGINT people, not the IAD people) would be in backdoors that allow them, and only them, to decrypt something while nobody else can. Nothing to see here, move along.

Comment So when do people sleep? (Score 1) 990

"Got a meeting with colleagues on the other side of the world? 4 a.m. means 4 a.m. for everyone." Yeah, and I have no idea if anyone will be awake at 4 a.m. in that part of the world when I'm scheduling the meeting unless I consult my handy "sleeping hours around the world" chart. Or we can keep things the way they are now, where I know that 4 a.m. in India is a bad time to schedule a meeting.

Comment Re:MARS is a joke (Score 1) 37

Apparently the mentality at Cisco now is that if they paint a box green and write Cisco on it, people will buy it.

As a longtime Cisco competitor, I can tell you that that is their mentality, and they are right. There are a huge number of IT departments that buy Cisco just because it says Cisco, and refuse to consider anything else. Whether it's for purchasing convenience, politics, job protection, or just reasons of laziness, there are people who just buy what their Cisco rep wants them to buy. If you manage to actually get into a bakeoff test at these places, network engineers will actively try to sabotage the non-Cisco gear in an attempt to get it to fail, and thus provide justification for spending 50% more on the Cisco gear because "it's the only product that meets our stringent requirements." It is a sad thing to watch, but a fact of life if you compete against Cisco. The trick is recognizing those places early in the sales process and adjusting your efforts accordingly so you don't waste too much time.

Comment Re:stupid stupid stupid (Score 1) 670

The difference between open source and closed source software: Here's a security flaw, and on Slashdot some guy can analyze what happened and why. If this were Windows with the same problem, Slashdot would be alive with "Go figure, another security flaw in M$, when are they going to learn to write secure software?" Moral of the story: If you are going to have security vulnerabilities, make sure Slashdot readers can analyze the source code!

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