back to article Is VPOTUS Bluetooth-phobic or sensible? The answer's pretty clear

The vice-president of the United States, Kamala Harris, was mocked by commentators this week for her aversion to Bluetooth on security grounds. Security professionals think she has a point – given her position. "Should someone who travels with the nuclear football be spending time untangling her headphone wires? The American …

  1. Chris G Silver badge

    Thankfully the risk of hacking is infinitesimal, and NASA's unlikely to need to do any remote patching – as freaking epic as that would be. ®"

    I think you have just issued a challenge, hopefully nobody will take it up.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

      Also, given the apparent sterility of the Martian environment, I would be way less concerned about importing biological bugs than contaminating it with Java. If there are Martians, I suspect they'll either hide from us or declare war as a result!

    2. Blazde

      The chances of anything hacking from Mars

      Are infinitesimal he said

      The chances of anything hacking from Mars

      Are infinitesimal

      but still they pwo-own

      1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

        Ulll- aaah

  2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    Ingenuity is powered by Apache Log4j

    And there was me, thinking it was batteries.

  3. LDS Silver badge

    "spending time untangling her headphone wires?"

    Don't know if trying to understand why the nuclear response app is not pairing with the nuclear response satellite network is better....

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: "spending time untangling her headphone wires?"

      "now type the 4-digit pairing code into the keypad located on the satellite's ground test panel... Oh shit."

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: "spending time untangling her headphone wires?"

        In case you forget, it's 0000. Enter twice.

        (see also Command and Control, by Eric Schlosser for this, and other near misses)

        1. Tail Up

          Re: Jellied Eel@ "spending time untangling her headphone wires?"

          "Enter twice" -

          Tuned specially for Joe B handshaker, though we mean... err, what's the diminitive for Kamala? Have anyone heard anybody calling VPOTUS tenderly?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Martin Summers

    I find the idea of being able to compromise something in space fascinating. I assume that naturally there is encryption on the links to these various craft. I do wonder what is up there that people can control from Earth with the right resources. More so, has there been or is there any evidence that anyone ever has?

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Telecommand is not usually encrypted, but it is normally authenticated. If the command receiver does not get any usable messages for a certain period it (should) assume that the key might have been corrupted so it can revert to unauthenticated commands (i.e. ignore the digital signature).

      While that might seem open to abuse, it would be unusual for a working system not to get regular commands even if they are just to dump status, etc. Also it takes a good bit of hardware to have a go at such a link, more so if deep space!

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        For SMARTR* Future Media Operational Control and Remote Universal State Command

        Telecommand is not usually encrypted, but it is normally authenticated. .... Paul Crawford

        Is normal telecommand usually controlled via an original authorisation and/or is there a facility/capacity/ability/utility/vulnerability that allows, as in IT and AI cannot stop and prevent, a Novel SMARTR Able Bodied Alien Systems Takeovers with IntelAIgently Designed Entity Makeovers novel unauthenticated instruction and genuine alien code injection for distant off planetary missions presenting future explanatory programming for exploring in Advanced IntelAIgently Designed Projects ‽ .

        Or do you wish to ignore such timely friendly interventions regarding the rewilding and reinvention of life on Earth, preferring instead to create a hostile environment, both physically realised and virtually imagined, full of the promise of international incidents and unfortunate accidents/preventable missteps ?

        SMARTR* .... SMARTR Mentoring Analysis Reporting Titanic Research

        cc in the Wild Wacky West.....Elon Musk and Rebecca c/o NDIA’s Emerging Technologies Institute. ....

        cc in the Exotic Esoteric East ..... Winnie the Pooh and Fancy Bear types.

  5. cornetman Silver badge

    > An Associated Press article stated that the nickname "football" was derived from an attack plan codenamed "Dropkick".[3] The nickname has led to some confusion as to the nature—and even the shape—of the device, as the leather bag or "jacket" in which it is carried appears large enough to contain an actual football.

    As a Brit, I just had to look this up on Wikipedia as it is obviously not an actual football. Outside of that context, the term "football" really does seem rather bizarre. Why don't they just describe it as a bag? Which is what it is.

    1. jake Silver badge

      "Football" is nothing more than an easy to remember codeword.

      1. cornetman Silver badge

        > "Football" is nothing more than an easy to remember codeword.

        I see that but I don't think that anyone outside of the government bubble is going to understand the reference, particularly at the top of this article which, without context, is pretty incomprehensible.

        1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Nuclear football

          I think everyone who reads The Reg knows what the nuclear football is in the context of the vice president of the United States of America. It's been referenced on TV, and in movies, articles, and books.

          It's like we don't have to explain what the FBI is. Everyone's seen the X Files.


          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Nuclear football

            "Everyone's seen the X Files."

            I watched about ten minutes of the first episode. Does that count?

          2. cornetman Silver badge

            Re: Nuclear football

            Well I had a bit of a trawl around the office here (in BC, Canada mind, so still North America) and everyone except me seems to know the term. A completely new one on me and I thought I was pretty well read.

            When I saw the picture of the bag I expected it to have a ball shaped bulge.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Nuclear football

              The ball-shaped bulge would only have happened if Hilary had won, and she was keeping Bills there.

          3. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

            Re: Nuclear football

            Shout out to Legends of Tomorrow S6E4 "The Bay of Squids" where they play (American) football with the football.

        2. jake Silver badge

          I'm pretty certain that almost everybody who reads ElReg knows that the Presidential Emergency Satchel (US version) is called "the football"[0] by those who actually deal with it day to day.

          [0] Note that this has absolutely nothing to do with the ball sport, so arguments over whether this is US football, Soccer, Aussie football, or some other, are quite silly.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward




            Bluetooth suppressed while HB case is not in use

            Modemic Academic Sound

            AllTimeAbove Sat

            Full service, to be short...

    2. HildyJ Silver badge


      The reference is to the ElReg standard volume measure of the case - one football.

  6. Gene Cash Silver badge


    Or, considering my "successes" in pairing earphones and other stuff to my phone, it could be she just wants something that works.

    It sucks paying $600 for a helmet with a built-in Bluetooth communications unit that just won't pair to anything except an iPhone. It also kind of sucks having earphone wires flapping in the breeze, but at least they work.

    I also have a shitty app to control settings on my motorcycle where pairing doesn't work in the current version. You have to install an older version, pair it, and update.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Bluetooth

      Personally, I rather enjoy NOT being at the beck and call of other people when I'm riding ... and I'd rather listen to the music of my bike than any tunage.

      1. very angry man

        Re: Bluetooth

        I work in an office where the other occupants are writing an app for motor cyclists , putting photos on maps and tracking and a heap of other shit , that apparently no motor cycle rider can do without,

        and guess what! it'll only run on an apple, so most real M/C riders are safe.

        I ride to escape why bring the jail with you?

        1. Giles C Silver badge

          Re: Bluetooth

          It already exists, have a look at

          Very useful for planning drives out for car clubs and sharing the route with others.

          And runs on android and ios

  7. Franco Silver badge

    I'm glad she takes security seriously. OK, this might be a very small chance of attack but it shows that she's being careful.

    Take the former POTUS for example, his twitter account was (allegedly) hacked previously as reported on this very website.

    In a definite case of someone who should know better, former Yahoo! CEO! Marissa Mayer publiclly admitted she didn't even pin protect her phone.

    1. PB90210

      In the case of the Yahoo! CEO!, everybody knew her passwords anyway

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