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Comment Botnet? (Score 3, Interesting) 112

So they're saying a botnet was used to gain access to the data, then passed on to third parties. Unless I'm mistaken, the IP addresses will be pointing to machines on the botnet, and the owners of those machines have no idea that is happening. It sounds like a lot of innocent people might get swept up in this.

Also ironic that LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft, who is no doubt responsible for the operating systems running on all those bots on the aforementioned botnet.

Comment I call BS (Score 4, Insightful) 145

This is bullshit. Software does not "age" the same way that a car or a washing machine ages. The hardware can age, but the hardware can be replaced, and in this case we are talking about IBM software and hardware, which has a long-standing reputation for reliability and for maintaining backwards compatibility.

I think the more likely story is that the interfaces to these systems are being compromised. That's why it's happening, first at one airline, then another. Someone, somewhere is fucking around with the airlines' reservation systems.

I think these stories about "fires" and "aging" software is covering up for the fact that these systems are getting hacked. If people start to lose confidence in the systems they'll fly less or stop flying altogether.

Comment From consumers to products (Score 4, Insightful) 213

This is why I don't understand the rush to have all these IOT devices in the house. I have a couple, but they are isolated, and if they were hacked I could still function without them. There seems to be a rush to have everything, from the washing machine, to the microwave, to the toaster hooked to the internet, and there seems to be even a push to build these devices so that they do not function without an internet connection. I used to be baffled as to why consumers would even want such things. But, of course, it is not the consumers who want all this IOT, but the vendors who sell the devices and the services, trying to turn us into the product.

Comment Re:Kildall was a great guy, but perhaps myopic (Score 1) 157

He was creating an operating system for a microcomputer -- something running on an 8-bit processor like the Intel 8080 or Zilog Z-80. There was a memory limit of 64K, and early on that 64K was expensive. I mean, if you had the equivalent of a few thousand dollars, in today's money, you could buy a Heathkit H-8 kit, and put it together, and you might be able to afford a 116K machine. If you could also afford a diskette drive, it was probably a hard-sectored, single-sided drive and the diskettes held 90K of information. It made sense to limit file name sizes, etc, for the diskette catalogs, so that the space available for data could be maximized. I encourage you to read up on how these old disk systems worked, so that you can understand why someone might limit the size of file names.

Furthermore, the "Mother Of All Demos" was NOT done on a little microcomputer. It was done on an SDS 940 which was a 24-bit machine having 64K of ram and 96MB of storage. The research for that was completed by a large team financed by DARPA and NASA. Kildall had nothing like these resources to work with either in terms of hardware or in terms of financial support. He was creating an inexpensive operating system to run on inexpensive, stand-alone systems.

While I agree he was somewhat myopic, it was only to the extent that he could not see how his product might be expanded. I don't think he deserves to be called "stupid" by any means.

Comment Kildall was a great guy, but perhaps myopic (Score 2) 157

I liked Gary Kildall. He was a pioneer in the business-oriented microcomputer world. The first computer I owned was a Heathkit H-89 and it ran CP/M. It was an operating system geared more towards business, with a number of compilers, and applications like SuperCalc and VisiCalc available for it. In the late 70's to mid 80's it dominated the business microcomputer market and was very nearly a universal operating system among those kinds of machines.

Given the popularity of CP/M and the growing microcomputer market, it is understandable that Kildall would feel confident in how things were going. However, I wonder if he was not a little myopic. I think that IBM could see right away that their customers would not want to use their PCs as merely stand-alone tools, but as a device that would talk to the mainframe and mini computers. It probably did not matter much to IBM where the PC OS came from, so long as it could do the job. Since they had a veritable monopoly in business class machines, they could plop down whatever they wanted on customers' desks and their customers would buy it as long as it worked.

Was Gary screwed by Microsoft? Yes, to some extent, I think so. However, he had ample opportunity to recognize the potential of working with IBM and to capitalize on it. He made a poor choice. I would like to read his memoirs to get an idea if he was as myopic as I suspect him to have been.

Comment Re:What's the answer? (Score 1) 134

The thing I personally dislike about two-factor authentication is that I have to give a bunch of people I don't even know, my phone number. However, it would be tempting to get a cheap feature phone just for this capability.

Ha! 17:1 is truly wise. I not only love 21:19, I lived it, for 19 years. :-)

Comment What's the answer? (Score 1) 134

Remembering lots of passwords is not possible for most people.

Keeping all the passwords the same is not smart.

Using a password vault seems logical, except that any such vault is a huge target for hackers. Certainly any vault in the cloud is just a disaster waiting to happen.

Two-factor authentication is probably the best solution -- unless your phone is at the bottom of the river, or your employer puts you in a spot where phone service is non-existent, like the basement. Of course, for those of you who are doing everything via phone, these two arguments don't apply.

No method is perfect. In the end, each of us are left to work things out as best we can.

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In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982