* Posts by The Mole

444 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007


Intel NDA blueprints – 20GB of source code, schematics, specs, docs – spill onto web from partners-only vault

The Mole

No personal or customer data? Really

So the spokesperson says that it contains no personal or customer data... yet:

1. we learn that intel developed cameras for SpaceX (surely that is customer data) and

2 it contains a git repo which will be full of commit messages containing names and email addresses and information on what those people work on (and that is defintely identifiable personal data)

Twitter says hack of key staff led to celebrity, politician, biz account hijack mega-spree

The Mole

Sounds like a well executed plan, and scary if the numbers are accurate as to how many people fell for it.

What got me is the request is so obviously a scam "send me money and I'll send you twice back", most people should have thought that was too good to be true. I would have thought they would have had a better conversion rate if they had said "Donate 1 bitcoin to this address and I'll match your donation to help COVID", that I think would have got past more peoples mental barriers.

MIT apologizes, permanently pulls offline huge dataset that taught AI systems to use racist, misogynistic slurs

The Mole


They've also seem to have missed the tiny little legal detail that they downloaded 80 million images without any check on copyright and have been redistributing that data-set.

To test its security mid-pandemic, GitLab tried phishing its own work-from-home staff. 1 in 5 fell for it

The Mole

To be fair to them this wasn't a normal phishing attack it was a highly targeted one.

The main way people spot an attack is if the domain name looks funny, but the name in this case was GitHub - ok with an unusual TLD but in a world where adverts tell you just to Google the site rather than give the domain name what do we expect?

It's also not helped that many company emails do look like phishing attacks, particularly with single sign on and the use of cloud based services which means the it department might well be managing this through a different domain.

The only other red flag is that a new laptop is too good to be true.

Microsoft cops to 775% Azure surge, quotas on resources and 'significant new capacity' coming ASAP

The Mole

Re: Teams sizing issues

That seems at best a rather dubious assumption at best.

Building a system to handle 1 million users isn't going to be the same difficulty as building ten systems that handle 100k users.

With 100k users you can rather trivially hold the state of all those users in memory at all times within that single machine. You could do query operations by linearly searching through that list (e.g. find every body with e in their name) without much noticable lag.

For a world wide resilient solution host may orders of magnitude more users clearly proper optimized distributed algorithms are needed. with realt databases etc. These have very different scaling characteristics and different bottlenecks will be the most important. The bigger the system the bigger coordination/synchronization issues become a bigger cost.

Hello, support? What do I click if I want some cash?

The Mole

Re: photocopiers

Because deleting doesn't actually delete stuff?

You could go for overwriting the files an appropriate number of times but I doubt the developers even thought about the security risks and even if they had management wouldn't have wanted to invest the time and effort.

FYI: When Virgin Media said it leaked 'limited contact info', it meant p0rno filter requests, IP addresses, IMEIs as well as names, addresses and more

The Mole

Re: Only 1,100 Users

A request to unblock a particular porn site also had the potential to expose sexual orientation in at least some cases. That puts it into the category of sensitive personal data which may well push the fines higher still.

Chrome suddenly using Bing after installing Office 365 Pro Plus... Yeah, that might have been us, mumbles Microsoft

The Mole

Re: Phew!

Yes it is, it is afterall possible to change your default search engine in Edge to something that works.

This is also a system for GPs, right? UK doctors seek clarity over Health dept's £40m single sign-on funding

The Mole

I think you've got it wrong there.

They almost certainly a teaching practice, this means they can get doctors doing a 6 month rotation as part of their course before they have graduated. I'm not sure if they need to pay them (or get paid for the supervision) but it does mean they don't even need to worry about having to let them go at the end of hte 6 month rotation (or whatever the period is).

Unlocking news: We decrypt those cryptic headlines about Scottish cops bypassing smartphone encryption

The Mole

Re: What if..

IANAL but my understanding of case law is that if the police break your door down to search the property then they don't legally have to pay for repair for it... even if they've gone to completely the wrong address and you are completely innocent. I imagine that the same principle applies if they've broken the door of your phone down.

UK data watchdog kicks £280m British Airways and Marriott GDPR fines into legal long grass

The Mole

Re: What's the point?

The problem is they will start looking at return on investment and soon realise the best thing to do is fine lots of little companies for technical violations - the ones who will probably just pay up with a simple lawyers letter threatening a full investigation. That's for more efficient and low risk than going against big organisations with proper legal teams who might fight and win.

The Mole

And that statement made no mention of Brexit and will read no differently after Brexit. They will still be the ICO's counterparts in Europe, as opposed to its Australian counterpart (which presumably may be larger, smaller or the same size as the ICO).

The Mole

Re: What's the point?

But there is a big difference between literally enforcing the laws and enforcing justice. If someone intended to park legally/get back to the car in time but were unable to for whatever reason by a tiny amount, then it isn't in the public interest to punish someone in that case. If the intent or impact is criminal then indeed they should be punished. Society tends to agree with the view that law enforcement should have some discretion as it is far more efficient than having to get laws exactly perfect.

Having incentives that encourage the removal of common sense can have known on implications for society.

Blackout Bug: Boeing 737 cockpit screens go blank if pilots land on specific runways

The Mole

Not really, this should really be covered by unit tests of the low level methods. I'm really struggling to understand what the bug could be to cause such an odd behaviour - I don't buy the comment on it being memory related, presumably some divide by zero issue but for that to blank out all displays is just staggering in how such a design could happen.

Testing all possible runways really shouldn't be needed as there shouldn't be anything special about them this fundamental, you can't test every possible starting position either.

Post Office faces potential criminal probe over Fujitsu IT system's accounting failures

The Mole

Can anyone point to a good dissection of what the bugs actually were and how they resulted in such large discrepancies - it should be very hard after all to get a cashflow/stock system not to balance in some way (even if the amounts are in the wrong places).

Why is the printer spouting nonsense... and who on earth tried to wire this plug?

The Mole

Re: DIY Electricians

Can someone explain why which way round the live and neutral are matters.

We are talking about alternative current, it doesn't have a direction of flow (or more correctly the direction of flow alternates). 50% of the time the 'live' will have the higher (or equal) voltage and 50% of the time the 'neutral' will have a higher (or equal voltage)

Revealed: NHS England bosses meet with tech and pharmaceutical giants to discuss price list of millions of Brits' medical data

The Mole

Re: Election day reporting restrictions?

I had the same thought and am surprised they didn't hold it until tomorrow.

Technically NHS England is a "Non-department public body" which according to wikipedia "are not an integral part of any government department and carry out their work at arm's length from ministers" so I guess there is an argument they aren't discussing political decisions - though ultimately ministers are still responsible.

Internet Society CEO: Most people don't care about the .org sell-off – and nothing short of a court order will stop it

The Mole

Re: Level playing field

There were two distinct groups of top level domain (TLD) originally.

The country codes (.uk, .us, .de, .io etc) which are operated under license from respective country. These domains are great for sites with a specific geographic location and help avoid name clashes, and also give useful information to end users of where the content is targetted to. In some of those codes they were then subdivided into categories (.co.uk, .org.uk, .ac.uk etc) whilst others just allowed domains directly below them.

Then there were the non-geographic domain names (.org, .gov, .com, .edu). These were principally designed for sites which didn't have a specific geographic location, but the US org tended to just use them anyway (everything is in america right?) hence .com becoming the dominant domain, and many US schools using .edu etc rather than the more correct co.us or ac.us if they had followed the UK scheme.

There is no real technical reason why you need the additional subdivision - as can be seen in countries that didn't do it, however humans do like categorisation and by splitting up companies from charities or schools it does allow the names to be repeated in different contexts, and also quick and simple recognition of what the subject is likely to be before reading it. E.g. originally an email coming from a .co.uk is likely to be marketing, from .org.uk a donation request and .ac.uk something academic.

More recently the industry have gone to the extreme of having lots of generic top level domain names (.bargains, .charity, .dating, .xyz). The only convincing argument for why these are a good thing is for those who wish to make money from them.. otherwise they just add confusion.

Bose customers beg for firmware ceasefire after headphones fall victim to another crap update

The Mole

Re: Got the receipt?

Don't forget the option of making a claim from your credit card company as they are jointly liable (if you brought it on credit card) and if Visa start getting enough of these I imagine they would be having quiet words with BOSE (nice shopfront you've got here, shame if anything happened to your car processing fees)

A short note to say I'm off: Vulture taps claws on Reg keyboard for last time

The Mole

You've delivered a lot more more than even a full serco contract though

Well done and a great place you are going to.

UK Home Office: We will register thousands of deactivated firearms with no database

The Mole


I am impressed, it looks like civil servants have come up with the cheapest possible solution whilst still meeting the law.

It also addresses the concerns about the risk of volunteering information to the authorities, presumably no body is going to actually be reading the emails.

The only time they will look at the emails is when someone contests against the police adding another charge to whatever else they were planning to get them on.

Blood, snot and fear: Why the travelling lone tech reporter should always knock twice

The Mole

Re: Interesting problem

Lots of ways it can happen, two simple options are:

1: two separate systems. System 1 says room 123 is allocated.

Clark scribbles down room 132 into the card/paperwork, types that into the card machine writer and then reads it back and tells the customer that that is what their room is.

2: a race condition, two people checking in at the same time, the room is empty when both requests do the lookup for empty rooms, they both then create allocations for the room and store it back (after waiting to confirm details etc). Due to bad database/system design it doesn't realise the two entries have been written and both are left allocated to the same room for the same time period.

Not just adhesive, but alcohol-resistant adhesive: Well done, Apple. Airpods Pro repairability is a zero

The Mole

Re: The Apple doesn't fall far from the tree

First result on google returns a news story from 2015: "Earables: The next big thing - TechRepublic"

Hundreds charged in internet's biggest child-abuse swap-shop site bust: IP addy leak led cops to sys-op's home

The Mole

OR they think getting access to all this porn is worth it, having people send it to you and any money earned is a bonus. Afterall we already know their thought processes aren't normal.

Remember the millions of fake net neutrality comments? They weren't as kosher as the FCC made out

The Mole

Re: @Mark 85 - It's the new world order...

"[...] the Brits are out of it with that Brexit farce and their de facto two party system"

Also I'd point out their isn't a British two party system currently, Northern Ireland has its own set of parties (and the DUP is even relevant at the moment), Scotland and Wales both have their nationalist parties which currently do exceedingly well in elections.

Even in England (where traditionally it has been a two party system and dominating the rest of the country) currently the lib dems in some polls are beating labour and the brexit party is not that far behind. The next election could be really interesting, although long term a two party system will probably re-establish itself (though which 2 parties?)

Do you want fr-AI-s with that appy-meal? McDonald's gobbles machine-learning biz for human-free Drive Thrus

The Mole

They've already automated away taking of customer order's at the desk - they are self service kiosks.

I think they might also have burger flipping machines in some places so they've started on the cooking robots.

A robot delivering the food to the table would be cool though.

Welcome to The Reg's poetry corner... hiQ once again / beats LinkedIn on web scrape case / more appeals await

The Mole

Re: Odd decision.

Agreed, but surely LinkedIn's pages are also in the same category, I can go into a library and access a book for free but still can't copy the contents. Just because LinkedIn exposes their pages on the internet doesn't (shouldn't) equate to Public Domain either - particularly if you need to log in to access that data.

The Mole

Re: Odd decision.

Would be interesting to see how the case pans out in the UK (and I'm sure if they wanted to linked in could make some of the profiles only available by servers in the UK and therefore cause a move jurisdiction).

Firstly it will clearly violate GDPR - there's personal data in those linked in profiles and users haven't consented to the third party firm holding and processing it.

Secondly there is the concept of 'database rights' in UK law. FA cup match results are public knowledge, however the collection and aggregation of that data merits protection, services that provide result summary's can't legally just have the content immediately copied by their competitors whilst the news is still 'hot'. LinkedIn have invested a significant amount of effort in gathering their data so I imagine the UK courts would consider that it is protected even though it is publically accessible.

I'm surprised even under US copyright law that there isn't a case of violation - afterall the contents of books are in the public domain and you can't just copy that.

Mozilla Firefox to begin slow rollout of DNS-over-HTTPS by default at the end of the month

The Mole

Because 123.234.345.456 might be hosting thousands of different websites under lots of different hostnames so just knowing the ip isn't sufficient to target you. Knowing what you've just resolved to get the IP is a cheap and easy way to find out. For HTTP connections they could just look at the Host header, and even HTTPS connections they can look at the SNI header (which isn't encrypted) to find it out but that's more expensive and alternatives to SNI might be widely available at some point.

Yahoo! customers! wake! up! to! borked! email! (Yes! people! still! actually! use! it!)

The Mole

Re: Guilty Secret

Three, its adequate and too much of a pain to move. Not sure I can remember ever spotting an extended downtime either so once in 20 years serious downtime is probably acceptable.

GIMP open source image editor forked to fix 'problematic' name

The Mole

Re: Visionism

If its the foot (bottom) that's not a problem as long as the stairs were going up...

SELECT code_execution FROM * USING SQLite: Eggheads lift the lid on DB security hijinks

The Mole

I can see that this potentially can be used as a privilege escalation method. If the process runs with higher rights (and/or the file permissions are owned by a privileged user) it may well be the DB is world writable so other users can store data in it - with the assumption the worst damage they can do is erasing the data. An attacker might therefore have minimal privileges sufficient to attack the DB file but not anything else. If/when another higher privilege user executes the application (or process reloads db etc) then the attacker can escalate.

That said there are almost certainly plenty of other vectors if you have access to files.

Captain, we've detected a disturbance in space-time. It's coming from Earth. Someone audited the Kubernetes source

The Mole

Were the two firms working collaboratively or in parallel? Would be interesting to see how many serious issues were only reported by one firm and missed by the other.

We don't mean to poo-poo this, but... The Internet of S**t has literally arrived thanks to Pampers smart diapers

The Mole

Source of cheap parts

On the positive I'm looking forward to find out what the actual chips and sensors are and whether they can be re-purposed for more beneficial uses? Though I might stick to the unused ones...

Yes, I've been swotting up on court evidence in advance, says Autonomy founder Mike Lynch

The Mole

Re: Full disclosure?

"I don't know, Your Honour. I was just given this wodge of papers 3 minutes ago but I've not even had the chance to see if they are just takeaway menus"?

I don't know but it's been said, Amphenol plugs are made with lead

The Mole

Re: "The router went dark"

We do? First time I've ever heard of it, as far as I'm aware its Sods law or Murphy's law. Sod's law being you'll get the worst option, whilst Murphy's law is what can go wrong will go wrong at the worst possible time, and even if it can't go wrong it will anyway..

Google's Fuchsia OS Flutters into view: We're just trying out some new concepts, claims exec

The Mole

Re: Accurate Ads

That's not actually true.

At least in TV advertising the channel only gets paid for the proportion of the viewers in the demographic that the advertiser are targeting.

This is also true in 'static' advertising. The Register is likely to get significant higher revenue per user if they can show 80% of users are IT professionals and therefore in the target audience. If another advertiser is targeting IT students then they might only pay 10% of the price to cover that 10% of the audience. 100% accurate targeting would allow ElReg to get both sets of revenue at the same time - by showing the 10% of students the adverts for the company wanting to target students, and the 80% of IT professionals the ads from the company only wanting to target IT Professionals. The other 10% might be randomly distributed and they effectively wouldn't get any money for those users

Poetic justice: Mum funnels £100 into claw machine to win single Dumbo teddy for her kid

The Mole

That is the worrying thing, the kid was too young to even care. If it had been an annoying 5 year old constantly yammering on about wanting it and badgering the mum to try one more time then it would at least be a bit understandable, but for a 5 month old?

Scumbags can program vulnerable MedTronic insulin pumps over the air to murder diabetics – insecure kit recalled

The Mole


That's only a slight mitigation though, either the radio coms are secure or they arne't. With the right transmitters/receivers NFC can still operate within the range of meters (or just get the target to walk through a specific door). Mitigates the possibilities slightly but not significantly enough.

Bot war: Here's how you can theoretically use adversarial AI to evade YouTube's hard-line copyright-detecting AI

The Mole

Re: Try this the other way around

Agreed, or for that matter just get permission from a copyright holder and use that.

Of course all they have proved is a finger print system is only good whilst it can create matching finger prints. Do we even have evidence that YouTube's system is even ML rather than just a clever algorithm of fingerprints? Then they throw 'ML' at the problem rather than manually come up with the algoirthm to distort the audio. It doesn't appear they've even done proper 'learning' of training their algorithm against pass/fails on youtube to identify the smallest set of changes needed.

If Uncle Sam could quit using insecure .zip files to swap info across the 'net, that would be great, says Silicon Ron Wyden

The Mole

Re: Sounds Easy. Isn't.

Whilst I agree it isn't easy, I think you are being a bit hard there. What the available network speed is should be irrelevant - if zip files can transfer it then some other properly encrypted archive can also be transferred (possibly with either better compression).

There are plenty of existing tools available that should solve this problem - many of them small, cross platform, low power and open source. So in theory there shouldn't be any real burden on existing even if old hardware as long as the right choices are made and take these requirements into consideration. Ok that's a big if.

I think where you do have it right is the fact you are dealing with such a large number of end users with ranging abilities, and likely refusals to put any effort into changing away from something that seems to work. The hard part is making it so the tools are so simple and easy to use that minimal training is needed, and getting it coordinated across such large estates.

So probably a multi billion government project which will end in failure then..

NASA's JPL may be able to reprogram a probe at the arse end of the solar system, but its security practices are a bit crap

The Mole

Worse than just academics I imagine JPL is filled with specialist engineers as well who just want to get on with their job with the minimal interference - which results in unauthorized systems deployed as they are quicker to get up and running.

Large Redmond Collider: CERN reveals plan to shift from Microsoft to open-source code after tenfold license fee hike

The Mole

Re: What I Like

I'm certain that the reason they aren't keeping it quiet is because they expect Microsoft to reconsider and come back with more acceptable licensing terms.

This is afterall what has happend when other large goverment organisations (German councils or something if I recall) announced open source projects.

Why telcos 'handed over' people's GPS coords to a bounty hunter: He just had to ask nicely

The Mole

At least requiring a warrant retrospectively and properly auditing this would be an improvement.

Better still an emailed scan/photo of signed authorization from a senior officer - sent from an re-authenticated domain signficantly raises the bar.

WikiLeaks boss Assange acted as a foreign spy, Uncle Sam exclaims in fresh rap sheet

The Mole

Re: This will be fun to watch...

Why? He's chosen to go to another foreign country he's got to follow their rules and laws. If the situation were reversed the UK wouldn't do much either unless the death penalty was involved.

Phisher folk reel in Computacenter security vetting mailbox packed with sensitive staff data

The Mole

Sensitive personal information shouldn't be transmitted in plain text over email to begin with, particularly to a third party mailbox where it will be travelling across the open internet.

Its not like a secure webform/storage is hard and has the benefit the data likely ends up in a more normalized and efficient to process format. Though I wouldn't be surprised if they used an externally hosed one of these and then it emailed out the resultant uploads..

Uncle Sam to blow millions on mind-control weapon tech that can be fitted without surgery

The Mole

The whole point is to invest in the research to make it change. Even if it doesn't reach military quality hopefully the side-effect of the research will be an improvement for disabled people.

Here's what Autonomy told its salesmen they were allowed to do

The Mole

Not Zero Tolleance

he testified to the High Court that he "violated this with permission and tolerance and guidance at times", before agreeing that in general, there was a "zero tolerance policy" towards breaking the "no side agreements" rule.

Must be a sales and marketing definition of zero then, that looks to be a 1% tolerance of 'no side agreements', certainly not zero tolerance if they sometimes tolerated it.

Apple won't be appy: US Supremes give green light to massive lawsuit over App Store prices

The Mole

Re: Possible contributing factor to the 6% drop?

I hope this issue gets rolled into the court case as I think it is actually more significant, a bricks and motar store getting 30% of the RRP price isn't that unusual, it is the cost of having it available for advertising (excessive probably in the digital case but not totally unprecedented), what is pretty much unprecedented in consumer relationships is that shop then claiming 30% on secondary sales which occur within the product.

Just in time for the Wiki-end: Chelsea Manning released from prison

The Mole

I assume it is because of this "Manning has stated in the past that she objects to the secrecy of the grand jury process" she is doing it on a matter of principal - I doubt she would have got much press coverage if she just said no comment to the questions (as presumably being in secret the press wouldn't even know).



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