* Posts by The Mole

461 posts • joined 18 Apr 2007


Make-me-admin holes found in Windows, Linux kernel

The Mole

Re: Verbification*

I've no problem with leverage being a verb in the British dictionaries.

Oxford dictionaries define it as:



use borrowed capital for (an investment), expecting the profits made to be greater than the interest payable.

"without clear legal title to their assets, they own property that cannot be leveraged as collateral for loans"


use (something) to maximum advantage.

"the organization needs to leverage its key resources"

Using leverage as a verb in terms of finance is fine.

The second definition is management speak but even still doesn't really work with the original sentence:

"I [used] the password hash [to maximum advantage]"

So nice of China to put all of its network zero-day vulns in one giant database no one will think to break into

The Mole

Re: Database vulnerability

The requirement to submit the bugs within 2 days implies that it is either FAX or more likely electronic. Even if the machine receiving the submissions on is airgapped from the real database, the receiving machine will still contain the recent data that was submitted and have visibility of the requests coming in. Now you may be able to mitigate that by using public key encryption, but even just knowing the source of the message would help an attacker target investigations on that particular companies haystack.

The coming of Wi-Fi 6 does not mean it's time to ditch your cabled LAN. Here's why

The Mole

Re: This months of work from home showed too....

Powerline adapters still exist and I was a big fan of them. During lockdown I got a set to connect up the summerhouse/office which had power but no ethernet. In the end I had to send them back as defective as they just couldn't keep a reliable enough signal - not sure if I was pushing the range of them or just had too much noise on the power cables. The new cat5 cable that I now have has been much more reliable.

AWS Frankfurt experiences major breakdown that staff couldn’t fix for hours due to ‘environmental conditions’ on data centre floor

The Mole

Agree, but I imagine part of the reason it is still offline is it needs resealing and refilled with new gas.

European Parliament's data adequacy objection: Doubts cast on UK's commitment to privacy protection

The Mole

Re: EU Commision <> EU Parliament

Sorry to break it to you but the MEPs are selected by the parties (in most EU countries). The public vote for the party they want, and then the proportion of votes is used to determine how many candidates from the parties list gets elected.

So the MEPs are self selected by the parties, but democratically elected through proportional representation, and tough luck to you if you don't think one particular candidate deserves/really doesn't deserve the job.

Or put another way the MEPs are only indirectly elected by the public.

Terror of the adtech industry iOS 14.5 has landed, and Siri can answer your calls ... though she/he can't hang up

The Mole

Re: So if

Unfortunately you are wrong on both counts.

Firstly when you make a phone call two parties are involved, you may not have a problem with your phone listening into you the rest of the time, but the other person might. Even if it is only listening into the microphone when the phone is on loudspeaker it could in theory be listening in on the other end.

On the second point there are numerous news stories highlighting the fact that the running joke was in fact accurate. There have been adverts triggering voice assistance up to and including triggering purchases to be made. Some solutions have been done to try to minimize it (such as user recognition and black lists) but if you do a search even Google's own adverts have sill trigger some devices in recent years.

EncroChat hack case: RAM, bam... what? Data in transit is data at rest, rules UK Court of Appeal

The Mole

So in a separate story reporting on the press releases you would be permitted to link to the press releases as long as you make no mention of those proceedings? But reporting on the press release and mentioning the proceedings would be illegal.

LowKey cool: This web app will tweak your photos to flummox facial-recognition systems, apparently

The Mole

Re: OK, but

Until of course the facial recognition AI is trained with a training set containing this permutations and so learns how to recognise people in a way more similar to the human brain (although probably with a corresponding drop in accuracy).

Attack of the cryptidiots: One wants Bitcoin-flush hard drive he threw out in 2013 back, the other lost USB stick password

The Mole

Water egress, fungus and mold are likely to contaminate the platters though and make them unusable even if extracted by a data recovery specialist.

Apologies for the wait, we're overwhelmed. Yes, this is the hospital. You need to what?! Do a software licence audit?

The Mole


So IBM was listed as both least helpful and most helpful?

Is that a typo or just reflect the fact that different divisions in large organisations could as well be different companies?

Whistleblowers have come to us alleging spy agency wrongdoing, says UK auditor IPCO

The Mole

My impression is that spying is seen as a game and not something serious (except when politically useful, or when they win) after all we all know everyone is up to it and frequently know who the spies are but let them stay in play (better the spy you know).

The Mole

Re: "tended to use “templated or generic” reasons"

To be fair with timesheets and travel authorizations being mostly a 'write only' process is probably sufficient as it provides a paper trail and lets the submitted know there is a risk of being caught which is normally all that is sufficient to keep moral behaviour. It also means that if someone is caught there previous forms can be checked. After all what is the value to the business of someone fine combing every application - they are likely to be wasting far more time and expense (or worse still people avoiding doing something to invoke the process) than they protect.

Government and the publics legal rights however shouldn't be tracked on a basis of ROI as liberty is not something you can easily put a price on.

UK coronavirus tier postcode-searching tool yanked offline as desperate Britons hunt for latest lockdown details

The Mole

Re: Cloud all the way

Yes it was using s post request rather than a nice coachable get request so completely incompetent.

Why they didn't start with a list/map (if you aren't in these areas you are level 2...) Baffles me too.

Compsci guru wants 'right to be forgotten' for old email, urges Google and friends to expire, reveal crypto-keys

The Mole

Not effective

In the real world your average person on the street has has no knowledge of DKIM and so whether keys have our have not been published will make zero difference for blackmail effectiveness. They will see a story on some leaked emails and device whether they believe it is true or whether they think someone has spoofed it.

Even in a libel court without there being contrary evidence a judge is likely to conclude that on the balance of probabilities they haven't been spoofed even if technically they could have.

Software engineer leaked UK missile system secrets and refused to hand cops his passwords, Old Bailey told

The Mole

I don't know the details, but it is clear that this person has mental health issues and quite possibly including paranoia and distorting the fact. Whilst the police don't always act when they should (and other times over act when they shouldn't) I can well believe that they didn't act because the 'attacks' didn't merit it or lacked sufficient evidence.

Similarly I'd probably give his psychiatrist the benefit of the doubt and probably just questioned the choice of any weapon and this was interpreted differently.

Finally I would expect and be appalled if the police did not arrest someone carrying an offensive weapon (particularly if they have mental health issues - not that they necessarily knew this when arresting him). It is not clear that he was actually prosecuted for that once questioning was complete.

I do agree the NHS do not have enough funding and the right support is in place in general, although in this case it does appear he was already under psychiatric care, but treatment takes time and depends on how well the patient is engaging. Assuming the psychiatrist was competent then the line of questioning probably needs to be of how aggressive the psychiatrist should have been in sectioning him - which I personally think should be a last resort based on real evidence of danger and certainly wouldn't want to guess whether that threshold was met here.

IBM: Our AI correctly predicts onset of Alzheimer’s 71% of the time, better than standard clinical tests

The Mole

My (very limitted) understanding is that whilst there is no cure, there are treatments and therapies that can help slow down the progression of the disease.

If you catch the disease very early and can halt or dramatically slow down the progression then there is a chance the person can lead a nearly normal life. It may even be medicines can be developed to reserve small amounts of damage that aren't effective on later diagnosed patients with much more severe symptoms.

Part of the problem with slow progression diseases is that research into possible preventative medicines (like asprin for heart disease/stroke) takes a very very long time to detect meaningful results. A more sensitive means to track deterioration may help speed up those investigations even if it isn't 100% accurate.

Five bag $300,000 in bug bounties after finding 55 security holes in Apple's web apps, IT infrastructure

The Mole

Re: Great work..

No need to imagine, read the really detailed breakdown they have written on how they went about the process and gained access.

Starting problem is that Apple have the entire with 27k webservers hosted within it with many targetted at employees or partners. Its much harder to monitor and correlate attacks against that many servers, and I imagine the noise level is extremely high. It appears many servers probably weren't installed/managed by 'IT'.

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.



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