* Posts by Barry Tabrah

149 publicly visible posts • joined 16 Jan 2008


This Android Trojan steals banking creds and wipes your phone

Barry Tabrah

Just smart enough

This seems to target those who are just smart enough to be able to root their phone and allow installs from untrusted sources, but dumb enough to follow any link they're given.

It is unfortunate that these people seem to be in the majority. I, for one, like to keep my phone security turned on and would always recommend that others do to.

Rooting seems trendy, but for the majority of people it's really not a good idea. (see Just smart enough)

Win10 Insider build 10532: Avoid if you run Chrome 64-bit

Barry Tabrah

They can't even update their own Knowledge Base

I had 2 cumulative updates yesterday with the vague 'they fix stuff' as the description and to look up more details on the Knowledge Base. After some futile searching, I decided to try talking to the Microsoft Answers chap. His advice was to 'Search BING' and click on one of the results. I did as he suggested and it was basically an article on how Microsoft haven't posted any information on the updates. I think he was a bit red-faced on the other end.

AIDS? Ebola? Nah – ELECTRO SMOG is our 'biggest problem', says Noel Edmonds

Barry Tabrah

Careful now

Just taking about this story can result in your logo being slapped on their website.

Police, firefighters, ambulances, hospitals: 20 per cent still rely on Win Server 2003

Barry Tabrah

The more interesting institutions

I'd be a lot more interested in which financial institutions are holding our information on WS2003. If any organisation is going to be targeted it's going to be them.

AV for Mac

Barry Tabrah

The obvious cause

Reboot back to OSX and remove the dual boot Windows partition.

Smart TV boffins hit the Red Button, trigger mayhem

Barry Tabrah

Smart TVs don't need smart users

Just because Smart TVs aren't configured by the user doesn't mean that they can't be reconfigured by a malicious source. This article demonstrates an industry more focused on profit than security, with a disregard for any security issues that would cause them to spend money to fix.

The less educated the end user is about the devices they are using like Smart TVs, the more likely they are to miss any malicious activity before it's too late.

And with the tendency moving towards activating these features out of the box there's going to be a lot of features turned on that most users don't even know about.

Jellybean dominates Play, still seated atop rising KitKat

Barry Tabrah

More statistics please

What this doesn't seem to say is what percentage of phones run kitkat, only what percentage of devices. With the prevalence of cheap tablets out there running dated and never-to-be-upgraded versions of android, phone statistics would be more telling I think.

Final Windows XP Patch Tuesday will plug Word RTF vuln

Barry Tabrah

Let me re-order that for you

From most dangerous to least we have Windows, Android, {OS/X, Linux}, IOS.

If, of course, you're talking about system vulnerabilities that is. You can probably chuck IOS (rooted) after Android if you like.

Heroic Playmonaut wowed by LOHAN's bulging package

Barry Tabrah

Operational Redundancy Opportunity

Looks like there's enough room for a Co-Playmonaut in there.

Google stays tight-lipped on IE9 Gmail, Apps death sentence

Barry Tabrah

Standards compliance rules all

Given that IE9 was Microsoft's first stab at a standards-compliant browser it would not be surprising for IE9 to continue to perform well for the foreseeable future, even if Google abandon official support for the browser. This is the advantage of going standards-compliant.

Also, just a Firefox 3.x die hards accepted that rolling updates to browsers aren't such a bad idea, I predict that businesses will be less resistant to Microsoft browser updates in future. Provided, of course, that Microsoft stick to standards-compliance.

Home Office boffins slip out passport-scanning Android app

Barry Tabrah
Thumb Up

Re: My passport chip didn't answer.

Couldn't be that. I read on the internet that you had to microwave the passport in order to recharge the NFC chip and extend its range.

Nearly-transparent screen adds solar charge to phones

Barry Tabrah

Perfect for e-readers

I can see e-paper readers being the real winner with this technology. Colour is a secondary concern and the limited power requirements mean that the device would probably never need to be plugged in.

Hefty beauty GAGA gets voluptuous new undercarriage

Barry Tabrah

Fun with robots

You might wish to check out Katy Levinson's talks on the defcon website. It may save a lot of pain and heartache. If nothing else it's entertaining. For example, velcro is your friend. Battery plus C-clamp equals fire.

Note: It's been a while since I listened to the talks so I cannot recall if they are completely safe for work.

Mozilla: Windows 7 browser bungle cost us nine MILLION downloads

Barry Tabrah


"...After the browser ballot screen was reinstated in Windows, downloads shot up by 150 per cent to approximately 50,000."

There are approximately 30,000 people every day that will click on something they know nothing about because it popped up on their computer screen.

UltraViolet universal movie format still a no-show

Barry Tabrah

UV filters

"...a file that will play in suitable software no matter where you bought it from."

I'm guessing that doesn't mean another region though.

Mystery martian object is relic of (our) civilisation

Barry Tabrah

It's a piece of a Mars Bar wrapper

Now stop messing around and get back to making sand castles already!

Campaigners roll out political-correctness Voight-Kampff CAPTCHAs

Barry Tabrah

Let's test Siri

I'd love to see what Siri has to say when posed these questions.

Also, wouldn't this test discriminate against lawyers, politicians, and other similar lifeforms?

Internet Explorer needs fresh dev infusion for a full recovery

Barry Tabrah

More meaningful statistics

I'd like to see the stats comparing corporate to personal. I'm not sure if it's possible to do this via IP address ranges or other means but browser usage is heavily influenced by usage environment and these statistics would be more meaningful if we can see the difference between choice (home users) and policy (corporate users).

Thanks ever so much Java, for that biz-wide rootkit infection

Barry Tabrah

The problem with ideal world thinking

There are many organisations which cannot operate without the dreaded three: IE, java, and flash.

When you work in an environment in which your systems need particular versions of Java, and these are mission critical systems that are no longer supported by the original vendor (who may or may not still exist themselves), the idea of removing or even patching Java is a non-starter.

The best we can do is lock out external devices, have draconian AV policies, and filter all website traffic. It's not a guaranteed catch-all but with luck and close systems management we can avoid disaster.

I, along with many others I'm sure, have sleepless nights over these issues. This story is going to haunt me for the next few weeks I'm sure. I think I'm going to need a drink.

Microsoft: It's not Metro, it's Windows 8

Barry Tabrah

And thus..

Coffin, meet nail. Nail, this is coffin. You're going to be spending a lot of time together. In a deep, dark hole. Covered with dirt. Where nobody will ever see you. It's been fun.

Outlook.com launch a gold rush for jokers, spammers

Barry Tabrah

Migrating spam

Step 1) Open spam list

Step 2) Substitute 'hotmail' for 'outlook'

Step 3) Business as usual

Story gone

Barry Tabrah

Not sure about the processor

Just checked the official Samsung website and apparently this puppy runs at 2.00Hz.

DNSchanger shutdown may kick 300,000 offline on Monday

Barry Tabrah

Re: Am I missing something?

Informing the user never works. Send them ads for Elf Bowl 4 - the Santinator and link them to the cleaning tools and they'll install them in a flash, practically clearing the infected PCs in a day. Then break early for a pint.

LOHAN seeks failsafe for explosive climax

Barry Tabrah

Re: Another option...

A solid state free fall sensor may be more reliable than mercury and should theoretically be easy to construct. Something like a small spherical weight resting on a microswitch in a tube.

Strong ARM: The Acorn Archimedes is 25

Barry Tabrah

Two abiding memories

Atelier - an art package, written in basic.

If you pressed the reset button you lost any basic program you'd written. If you pressed it again then you got the program back.

1 in 6 Windows PCs naked as a jaybird online

Barry Tabrah

No AV but...

I bet every one of them has at least one, possibly four, registry boosters installed. And Google toolbar. And Google Chrome, even though they don't use it.

Actually they probably still have McAfee 30 day trial installed from when they bought the computer.

ITU adopts two ultra-high def TV specs

Barry Tabrah

Staring deep into my liquid crystal ball

I see televisions plastered with the number 8. Namely 8K compatble and 8 megapixels. Although they shall only be 4K televisions.

'Dated and cheesy' Aero ripped from Windows 8

Barry Tabrah

In 5 years time

Touch based interfaces for desktop PCs were so dated and cheesy.

Oh, wait a minute. Did I say 5 years?

Vulture 2 trigger triggers serious head-scratching

Barry Tabrah


A launch is preferable to a no-launch, so I suggest a simple timer override set to launch after all other measures should have launched.

Telly is becoming moving wallpaper for constantly online Brits

Barry Tabrah

What is the difference between "neither agree not disagree" and "not sure"?

UPDATE: GAGA team hunts down grass-smoking ROBOT

Barry Tabrah

If light is too quick

Why not use sound to determine range? It has the added advantage of deterring pets.

Also, why not put the sticks / LEDs / markers in the garden rather than on GAGA.

if year > 2013 then PC != Personal Computer

Barry Tabrah

Stop stealing our abbreviations!

I am sick and tired of abbreviations being hijacked for the latest fad. We fought hard to establish our abbreviations. Many computer companies died for them ... Tandy, Tiny, others beginning with T.

It was bad enough when politicians stole it for Political Correctness, now our own industry is stealing it again.

Well no more! This is where we stand and fight for our abbreviations! We shall establish a standard set, and all others shall abide. Are you hearing me Reg? Don't think I haven't noticed your headlines awash with the latest abbrevicreations! You're on notice as well.

Apple tells Siri rival Evi: Get a facelift and you can stay

Barry Tabrah

Easy fix

Just remove compatibility with the iPhone 4S. Then it'll be exactly the opposite of Siri.

Windows 8 on ARM: Microsoft bets on Office 15 and IE10

Barry Tabrah

Bad news about Office

In my opinion the one thing that could have launched wide scale Windows 8 tablet use would be the option of a metro-optimized Microsoft Office. I hope that Microsoft are considering developing some Metro office viewers at least.

O2 quietly cans gratis Cloud Wi-Fi connectivity

Barry Tabrah

Definitely got a text

I got a text last week from O2 informing me of this. Not sure what the percentage of customers that didn't are, but some people definitely did get prior notification. In fact, I seem to recall getting a notification before Christmas from O2 about this happening as well.

Fans goad Valve for Half-Life 3 gen

Barry Tabrah

Okay, I need to get out more

... but until I get out more I'm spending my life playing computer games. More Half Life!

FCC (finally) cracks down on BLARING! TV! ADS!

Barry Tabrah

Next on the agenda

Okay, now let's go after the fat Tenor with the mustache! Infinitely more annoying than excessive volume levels. Who's with me?

Chrome is the most secured browser - new study

Barry Tabrah

Versions compared

Chrome 12 and 13, IE9 and Firefox 5.

It would have been interesting to see how IE8 and Firefox 3.6 fared, as there's still a pretty decent user base for those versions.

Why are Android anti-virus firms so slow to react on Carrier IQ?

Barry Tabrah


If the Carrier IQ software is compromised and the vendor fails to address the vulnerability, will the vendor be liable for any data loss or fraud? After all, this is software loaded by the vendor that is not necessary for the operation of the phone.

Consumer interest in Windows 8 tablets slumps

Barry Tabrah

Windows 8 tablets for business

Sure, consumers aren't going to buy a Windows 8 tablet. I mean, why would they want to? The kind of thing that the average user wants to do with a tablet doesn't require Windows.

But business on the other hand certainly will. That's the market where the Windows 8 tablet will really appeal. And that's where I think Microsoft should be aiming. And they'd better have a Windows 8 enhanced touch-friendly version of Microsoft Office ready to rock on release date. Because THAT will help sell those tablets like hot cakes.

'Apple's iPhone 4S ate our SIM cards'

Barry Tabrah

It's not just the 4S

I'm getting the same issue on my previously mostly reliable plain ol' 4, so it looks like it's most likely a software issue. And shoving tape all over the SIM card doesn't make a blind bit of difference.

Alien city lights could be detected across interstellar space

Barry Tabrah

We know aliens use light

All abduction stories seem to feature bright lights, and based on that scientific observation all aliens must be using bright lights at all times. I know that sounds technical, but that's what makes good science!

Safe as Windows: Smartphones' security nightmare

Barry Tabrah
Big Brother

One area I'd gladly give up my freedom

The main crippling point for most home PCs is malware removal. The software most users run, commercial and shareware, cause their machines to be slower and more unstable than the malware they're supposed to protect them from. And that's the last thing we need on our mobiles.

Once again I believe that Apple's restrictive marketplace is the better of two evils. Sure, we're tied down to what Apple deem "suitable". But at least the devices remain responsive and relatively safe.

I believe that Android developers should offer a similar approach, particularly in vetting the apps before they make it onto their marketplace. Let those that seek the freedom to twist their devices to their will do so with impunity, but give the mass public the safety, security, and performance that comes from a controlled and regulated marketplace: locked down with the option of opening rather than the reverse.

El Reg in email address blunder

Barry Tabrah

Security Protocol

Thank goodness I only gave you my garbage (see HotMail) email account. At least you didn't post my password, which is unique to this site and highly secure (note to self, must change password - probably add a 1 on the end. Yeah, that'll do it)

Future Firefox to slurp updates silently

Barry Tabrah

Not punching through, working around

Chrome is running as a user and is only installed in the user folder using user rights. This is the decision they made to allow for rapid updates. Sure, it breaks standards a little but it keeps the security layer intact.

Chrome does offer an Enterprise installer that installs to the Program Files folder but sticks with UAC for updates.

Barry Tabrah

Get around UAC? Kind of missing the point here

'The Firefox team is testing a "Windows service approach" to get around the UAC issue; the service would install an optional component that would automate the update install without giving the UAC prompts, Bondy said.'

Chrome gets around this by running with user privileges in the user folder. What Mozilla are suggesting seems to punch a hole right through a rather important security layer. One small coding bug now makes the entire Windows platform vulnerable to malware, all to prevent a pop-up every 6 weeks.

Something tells me that this would NOT be the preferred solution for Enterprise. The preferred solution for Enterprise would be a pre-packaged MSI update that they could control the deployment of.

Oracle: Java 8 will be revolution, not evolution

Barry Tabrah

Am I the only one to feel a sense of dread?

Java innovation invariably means broken apps. I'm not saying that Java shouldn't evolve, just that talk of evolution in Java usually gives me a sense of dread.

Brits not keen on 3D, reveals poll

Barry Tabrah

Why 3D detracts from the experience

Films are still being made because of 3D rather than being enhanced by 3D. It works best when we don't notice it, like CGI. A good 3D movie should never wave 3D at the audience and should really never project much beyond the screen.

Red Hat engineer renews attack on Windows 8-certified secure boot

Barry Tabrah

Microsoft is irrelevant in this argument

It's the OEMs that are going to have to allow disabling of this feature. Many organisations rely on older OS models and the arguments for keeping XP as an option are already pushing OEMs towards backward compatibility.

This requirement for legacy support from medium and large business is why I'm not worried about this. Any decent OEM is going to include an option to disable this just to keep the business.

Mathematicians slam UK.gov plans to fund statistics only

Barry Tabrah

Statistically it makes sense

Why do I get the feeling that the Government will have no problems in obtaining statistics that this is the best use of funds?