* Posts by AnoniMouse

69 posts • joined 16 Feb 2011


Microsoft confirms pursuit of TikTok after Satya Nadella chats to Donald Trump


So Trump talks down TikTok, hugely reducing the value of the brand in the US, and Microsoft gets to buy it at a bargain price.

A triumph for free market economics and the president of its largest global practitioner.

Health Sec Hancock says UK will use Apple-Google API for virus contact-tracing app after all (even though Apple were right rotters)


Privacy busting Google and Apple controlling UK policy

Heavens help us if this is a precedent for the future under this lot: UK olicy being dictated by US-based technology companies who pay lip service to privacy whilst striving their utmost to garner every last bit of personal data about users of their technology

This is not about protecting our privacy; it's about ownership: these companies want to own us, for their private, commercial interests.

So the UK will now have to make do with a tracing system which lacks, at Apple and Google's behest, the capability to anayse how and where the virus is spreading.

Big US business: 1; public interest: nil

Expect such companies to be handed major roles in the UK's National Health Service post-COVID and post-Brexit. And lots more of our data.

UK Defence Committee probe into national security threat of Huawei sure to uncover lots of new and original insights


Keep your friends close but your enemies closer

Not entirely clear which is which but given that the UK technical experts have assessed that any risks from Huawei can be managed, what on earth do the almost universally techincally and scientifically illiterate MPs think that they can usefully add to the discussion?

Hey, Brits. Your Google data is leaving the EU before you are: Hoard to be shipped from Ireland to US next month


And all that Android phone data

Presumably that transfer of control will include data relating to roughly half the mobile phones in the UK which run on the Android platform.

You're not Boeing to believe this: Yet another show-stopping software bug found in ill-fated 737 Max airplanes


Re: Five stages of company life


You forgot HUMAN REMAINS, who rose to ascendency in the UK Engineering industry on the basis of promises to cut employment costs. That cutting of costs was reflected in their reward models (huge bonuses, more power); but there was no penalty in the reward model for severely debilitating the engineering capability of the organisation; cost cutting was the over-riding consideration. That's the culture that leads to inadequate engineering.

Add to that the fact that mankind is developing increasingly complex systems, invariably comprising multiple component systems interacting with each other. The complexity of such systems (of systems), often specified, developed and operated by different authorities, has outstripped mankind's capabilities to develop and ASSURE those systems.

Senior health tech pros warn NHS England: Be transparent with mass database trawl or face public backlash


Useful datasets CANNOT be truly anonymised

"The information, including medical and genetic records that are said to be anonymised as necessary, will be accessed by NHS practitioners, along with researchers and possibly private companies. "

Only one small, inconvenient difficulty: if the data contains any useful information then, in conjunction with other datasets, it can be de-anonymised.

No woder the health insurance and finance companies are drooling at the proepect of getting hold of OUR personal data! Which they will then be able to use in ways over which we have no control to reduce their risks and increase their profitability.

Whatever happened to the concept of risk-sharing (across a population)?

Without extensive safeguards, this ill-considered initiative will discriminste unfairly against those whose medical and genetic heritage is less fortunate than others'.


What? No safeguards?

"The information, including medical and genetic records that are said to be anonymised as necessary, will be accessed by NHS practitioners, along with researchers and possibly private companies. "

True anonymisation of such data is impossible, especially when it includes "genetic records" (which reliably identify e.g. criminals beyond reasonable doubt").

Private companies, especially the insurance and finance industries, must be rubbing their hands with glee. They will

Moore's Law isn't dead, chip boffin declares – we need it to keep chugging along for the sake of AI


There are real limits to silicon technologies

It's all very well to talk of muliple layers (for memory chips) but there are physical limits:

1. Transistors cannot be made much smaller (only a few electrons per gate);

2. Larger chips are more likely to have defects so there is an incentive to minimise the chip's area;

3. So there is a limit to the two-dimensional organisation and sizing of a chip;

4. Use of the third dimension (multiple layers) depends on what those layers are used for: if it's mostly single access memory then only a tiny proportion is active and scaling is feasible; if (highly) parallel processing (or memory access) is the aim then the need for heat dissipation is a severe limitation to the number of active elements per unit volume.

Interesting that wetware, which does operate in 3 dimensions, has inbuilt cooling thanks to cardiovascular circulation.

Silly money: Before you chuck your chequebook away, triple-check that super-handy digital coin


Currency must be based on TRUST - Facebook???

The prospect of Facebook holding a record of many / most / all of my financial transactions and selling that data to whatever buyer is prepared to pay them for it is more than enought to put me off this particular initiative.

And blockchain technology, although it has been "in development", and even limited real use for years, has yet to prove it is needed for, and capable of supporting electronic transactions on a global scale (and the Bitcoin manifestation of it is an environmental disaster).

Cough up, like, 1% of your valuation and keep up the good work, says FTC: In draft privacy deal, Facebook won't have to change a thing


Just the tip of the iceberg

Facebook's "flagrant, repeated violations of Americans' privacy" pale into insignificance compared to the global plundering of users' contact details that took place when Facebook acquired WhatsApp and "shared" [contact] data.

This was even more of a privacy-wrecking irony as WhatsApp had set out to help individuals protect their privacy.

No fine can be large enough to compensate for the growing lack of trust in Big Tech that has resulted from Facebook's arrorgance.

Bonkers British MPs rant: 5G signals cause cancer


This whole topic is mired by pseudo science - on both sides

Higher frequency does not necessarily entail potentially more damaging effects to living matter. Animal life on earth evolved in an environment continually bathed in electromagnetic radiation whose frequencies range from several hundred GHz upwards: sunlight.

Proper assessment of 5G technology and any risks it may pose, enabling informed debate about whether those risks are acceptable (remembering that NOTHING is completely "safe" - ask Edwina).

Trading emotive opinions and cherry-picking snippets of scientific research (mis-)quoted out of context will not help humankind to investigate the 5G opportunity AND mitigate its potential risks.

Bruce Schneier: You want real IoT security? Have Uncle Sam start putting boots to asses


The genie is out of the bottle

The cost of a chip that enables a "Thing" to connect to a wireless network continues to plummet. "Thngs" are becoming so small and so cheap that measures used by the US (or any other government) to control IT such as mobiles, laptops or even larger (and more expensive) devices will just not scale.

As such "Things" are incorporated into buildings, transport, homes, there is a need to ensure that the desirable characteristics identified by Schneier are fulfilled by the "Things" AND sustainable for the full lifetime of the eaxh "Thing" - which could be decades.

Begone, Demon Internet: Vodafone to shutter old-school pioneer ISP


Re: Bye bye.....

If Vodafone do not maintain the demon.co.uk domain and the associated nameservers (which hold the mx records) then all email addresses of the form <mailbox>@<x>.demon.co.uk will become broken.

In this day and age, when an email address is an important element of an individual's identity, such an action would be tantamount to corporate identity theft.

If Vodafone no longer have any use for the domain and are not prepared to maintain it then its ownership should be transferred to another organisation, such as NamesCo, who already manage email hostnames of the form <x>.demon.co.uk.

UK.gov failing to prevent £10bn of annual online fraud, say MPs


UK Banks don't care about fraud because it's the customers who lose

Regarding : "Unless all banks start working together, including making better use of technology, there will be little progress on tackling card fraud and returning money to customers."

Until banks are forced to accept legal responsibility for the consequences of their inadequate / broken use of technology to interact with customers, resulting in unnecessarily high levels of fraud being perpetrated on their customers, they will do little or nothing to improve matters.

Oh and how is the statement by a UK bank that "We'll also never send you an email asking for your Online Banking details or that include a link to the Online Banking log-in page." consistent with the "Login" or "View your Account" buttons in EVERY email sent by the credit card arm of the SAME UK bank?

Manchester plod still running 1,500 Windows XP machines


Oh, the arrogance of vendors

>> lead malware man at Malwarebytes, said Manchester Police seem to be suffering from a common

>> problem - reliance on custom applications which don't work with other versions of Windows.

Users must realise that they should only be using their PCs for the convenience and enrichment of vendors and should take every opportunity to buy new versions of wares that the vendors are peddling as soon as they become available.

The real fault lies with the vendors, whose strategy in respect of application / device / format compatibility seems to place users, their organisations and the purposes for which they, THE USERS, want to use PCs at the end of their list of priorities. After all, if a user's application / device becomes (or, is made) obsolete, why hey! they'll have to buy a new one. All good for vendor profits.

DJI strips out code badness, reveals some GPL odds 'n sods


Re: user freedom?


Your analogy is about the capabilities of the manufacturer - and I agree, that such capabilities might be abused.

I was more concerned about the capabilities of world+dog to reprogram any of the increasing number of devices that are "fully reliant on software" and on which we increasingly depend.


user freedom?

Will those in favour of unbridled hacking of drone code be content with the same freedom for the code in driverless cars on the public highway?

Infosec guru Schneier: Govts will intervene to regulate Internet of Sh!t


Re: That could become even worse than the original problem... if done badly

>> This worked fine for electrical engineering.

Yes, but I really can't see Trading Standards having the first clue about the end-to-end security of the ludicrously cheap devices, manfactured and (not) supported well outside our jurisdiction, that will predominate the Internet of Trojans.

Bruce is right to observe that market forces will do little to mitigate the impending threats that will arise.

But it's also very far from clear how any kind of government intervention might operate to be effective, especially since the IoT is a global phenomenon, with participants spread across the globe and hence spanning multiple jurisdictions.

NASA brainboxes work on algorithms for 'safe' self-flying aircraft


Multi-vehicle collision avoidance

Algorithms for reliably avoiding collisions between multiple, autonomous (i.e. not centrally controlled) moving vehicles (or, in 3D aircraft) are not plentiful, especially if circumstances where scalablity in numbers of vehicles (beyond two or three) vehicles is necessary.

All the challenges of complexity, with horrendously challenging scalability.

Internet of snitches: Anyone who can sniff 'Thing' traffic knows what you're doing


Internet of Trojans

And we are being encouraged to buy these "things" in their millions and connect them to our home networks INSIDE any firewall our routers may have.

US think-tank wants IoT device design regulated, because security


Wishful thinking

"Small cost-sensitive internet-of-things developer teams have little incentive to invest in rigorous security testing."

And since most of them will be developed, manufactured and (not) supported in jurisdictions outside the US, effective regulation will be very difficult to achieve.

Can ISPs step up and solve the DDoS problem?


Wishful thinking

"We can also encourage IoT manufacturers to impose better security in IoT equipment."

The IoT maniufacturers will be driven by competitive pressures to get new features into the market first, not to worry about security or support.

This is a very real challenge: in a world of open Internet access and relatively free trade, it is very difficult to discourage the consumer public from purchasing cheap electronic baubles, sourced from, and (not) supported by vendors in far-off jurisdictions.


Wishful thinking

"We can also encourage IoT manufacturers to impose better security in IoT equipment."

Things will be manufactured and (not) supported in a manner consistent with their plummetting cost. Vendors will focus on competing to get new features to market, not long term matters like security.

This is a very real challenge: in a world of open Internet access, and relatively free trade, it is very hard to discourage the public from buying cheap electronic baubles sourced from vendors in far-off jurisdictions.

Race for wireless VR headset heats up


Hacking virtual reality

Let's hope the makers have taken security really seriously.

The prospect that a hacker could convince the wearer of a VR headset of a false virtual reality is scary.

Str-NAND-ed: Flash chip drought hits tech world


Re: Things that make you go...

The fundamental issue is that even if the entire semiconductor fab capacity were dedicated to conventional flash memory proudtion it would not be sufficient to meet the ever burgeoning demand for storage.

As the economics shift the balance further in favour of solid state storage, demand for solid state storage will increase and the shortage will become even more acute.

Thanks, IoT vendors: your slack attitude will get regulators moving


Après nous le déluge

Creating IoT security groupings is a sure sign that the tech industry has missed the point.

Billions of Things will be produced by anonyous vendors who have no interest in IoT security and bought as cheap consumer tat by non-techies who have no consciousness of IoT security.

152k cameras in 990Gbps record-breaking dual DDoS


Re: Good news

It's very unclear that any amount of legal action could prevent a deluge of unbranded "Things" from finding their way into every nook and cranny of personal, home and civic life. These Things will be imported in their millions and almost given away. The channels will be so broadly distributed that it wil frequently be impossible to identify a supplier / manufacturer that is in our jurisdiction, just the local vendor / market stall / web seller / .

Wow, RIP hackers ... It's Cyber-Lord Blunkett to the rescue for UK big biz


Not enough

"Small organisations account for 92 per cent of cyber attacks, often because of limited resources. "

But in the (near) future it will be Things that will account for the majority of cyber targets, not least because there will be billions of them, with minimal trustworthy source or support. Their operators (including the public) won't be included in schemes like this and their suppliers mostly won't care.

GM crops are good for you and the planet, reckon boffins


Faulty logic = inaccurate reporting

There is all the difference in the world between " genetically modified foods [being] good for human health and the environment" and there being "no substantiated evidence of a difference in risks to human health between current commercially available genetically engineered (GE) crops and conventionally bred crops", as was actually stated in the report.

Most importantly, nothing in the report even attempts to state that all future GM/GE products will be risk-free.

As nature shows repeatedly, once genetic material appears in the wild it is virtually impossible to reverse that appearance.

Docker bags unikernel gurus – now you can be just like Linus Torvalds


Re: Less is More

Whether or not Unikernels or containers reduce the number of vulnerabilities, the need to patch each and every instance that contains a faulty code module will hugely increase the effort required to maintain containerised Apps.

Boozing is unsafe at ‘any level’, thunders chief UK.gov quack


The dangers of "safe"

As many politicians and others have found in the past, there are huge dangers in talking about anything that is risk-related in terms of absolutes - "safe", "secure", etc.

In this case, "safe" has been defined as a less than 1% increased risk; which, as many others have pointed out, is small compared to many other risks to which we are exposed daily.


The dangers of "safe"

As many politicians and others have found in the past, there are huge dangers in talking about anything that is risk-related in terms of absolutes - "safe", "secure", etc.

In this case, "safe" has been defined as a less than 1% increased risk; which, as many others have pointed out, is small compared to many other risks to which we are exposed daily.

Researcher criticises 'weak' crypto in Internet of Things alarm system


IoT - Internet of Targets

A consumer boom, delivering cheap, already compromised or readily compromisable "things" into a large proportion of the nation's homes, cars, buildings, ...

What could possibly go wrong?

Happy New Year!

Boffins unwrap bargain-basement processor that talks light and current


Shame about the paywall

The continuing practice of publicly funded academics publishing their papers behind paywalls is reminiscent of the medieval church in which the clergy used Latin and physical screens to maintain their loftiness over the general public.

Google wants to add 'not encrypted' warnings to Gmail


A whiff of hypocrisy?

And presumbly Google also wants to warn users about the impact on their privacy of accessing Web Sites which, even though acceessed via HTTPS, are riddled with DoubleClick GoogleAnalytics and other Google SpyWare?

Voda boss claims 'turning point' as infra investment kicks in


Not all Vodafone customers are benefiting

>> "Our customers are benefiting from the significant investments we are making in high speed mobile and fixed networks," he added.

Not true for Demon Internet customers, for whom Vodafone has repeatedly failed to provide information about the future of Demon broadband and email services.

Windows 10 growth stalls during October



"Windows XP market share declining less than Win 8.x or 7"

Not surprising, since Win XP is not (generally) subject to the embrace of Windows update, showering installations with unwanted Win10 upgrades.

Vodafone sales dip, waits for fixed broadband to kick in


>> This was also the quarter that Voda re-launched itself back into Blighty's fixed-line broadband market.

>> The company currently has just 70,000 subscribers in the UK, compared with an overall base of 10

>> million across the rest of the group.

Vodafone could make a start at making themselves attractive to new customers by paying some proper attention to existing Demon internet customes, who have been disgracefully ignored by a succession of owners, but are now Vodafone's responsibility.


NHS England backs down over another data extraction scheme


There is no such thing as de-identified data

Join anoymised data with a few other data sets, stir in a big data lake and, hey presto, all (well, strictly, much will be revealed.

The myth of data anonymisation needs to be debunked forthwith.

NASA guy to White House: Be really careful with that HTTPS stuff


So Google Ads all delivered via HTTPS. Web browsing slows down because of all those HTTPS connects. And - guess who - Google have just the answer: QUIC. How fortunate for ... Google.

HTTPS-only is a mixed blessing, since it protects the bad as well as the good: it will be all the easier for barbed Ads to reach their targets.

Free WiFi coming to UK trains ... in two years


One way traffic?

>> The measure's being promoted as a productivity-enhancer,

>> especially for those making lengthy journeys to the North.

Or even those travelling FROM the North.

Microsoft will give away Windows 10 FREE - for ONE year


Will it be an in-place upgrade?

"The question of 'what version are you running' will cease to make sense"

Oh yes it will, unless MS offer absolutely seamless, in-place upgrade and guaranteed backwards compatibility for applications.

Installing an OS is only the start: then there is all the hassle of installing and configuring the OS _and_ all the applications.

The future looks bright: Prepare to be dazzled by HDR telly tech


HDR based on a false premise

In the real world, human eyesight operates on a limited dynamic range - that's the purpose of the pupils, to adjust the aperture in response to different light levels. So one result of HDR will be to make our pupils work harder. Further, the brain's visual processing will, in practice, mask small variations in levels that are not the focus of attention - cf. preceptual masking in audio chains.

HDR will, no doubt, be a vehicle for gimmicky effects not otherwise achievable, but is this really "progress"? Or necessary (other than to sustain TV manufacturers' revenues)? And what did hppen to 3D TV?

No NAND's land: Flash will NOT take over the data centre


The writing is on the wall

>> The huge great problem is $/GB. New disk technologies such as shingling,

>> TDMR and HAMR are upping areal density per platter and bringing down

>> cost/GB faster than NAND technology can.

Disc technologies are heading towards their last gasp. HMR and TDMR have tahen FAR longer to bring to market than predcted. They are not just shrinks, but new technologies; and no follow-ons are apparent to follow in their wake. The fundamental limitations are a) domain size; and b) discs are 2 dimensional.

3D flash on the other hand is only just getting started. Already stacking 100 layers is believed to be feasible. That's equivalent to 11 years growth in capacity at 40% CAGR. Noone is envisaging HDD technologies continuing to improve at anything like that rate.

GP records soon wide open again: Just walk into a ‘safe haven’


There is no such thing as anonymisation any more

Once again, this is not a question of whether people wish to share data or not, but the circumstances under which, and by whom that personal data may be accessed.

I have no problem in my personal medical sharing data for the purposes of medical / epidemiological research. But it's quite another matter if Insurance compaies purchase personal datasets in bulk, join it with other datasets using Big Data processing, to de-anonmise the personal dataset, and then use that to set insurance premiums.

Boffins: Behold the SILICON CHEAPNESS of our tiny, radio-signal-munching IoT sensor


Everything except ...

"... a single silicon component that integrates everything needed to connect a sensor: computing, a communication stack, a radio and an antenna" - BUT NO SECURITY. Be very afraid!

Hackers' Paradise: The rise of soft options and the demise of hard choices


Worm Holes galore

As pointed out in other comments, many OSs were late to (or still do not) take full adavantage of hardware features in modern CPUs for memory protection.

Another massive route to compromising systems is the means by which "application code" invvokes (privileged) OS code (System Calls) with their API poor design and inadequate parameter validation. These are supplemented by numerous application-level "frameworks" which have the ability to escalate the privileges of the current process, so that vulnerabilities in_application_code can readily lead to compromise the whole system. Thus the number of worm holes penetrating the so-called protection of the priviileged parts of a system just continues to increase.

Sadly, the focus (from the sales and marketing community, not to mention the "got to have the latest" crowd) is on novelty rather than continual improvement; and change, especially, when not strictly necessary, creates needless opportunities for the creation of more vulnerabilities.

The fundamental issue is the lack of rigour or formality in designing and verifying almost all modern OSs. Not a great foundation for a world that is increasingly dependent on this stuff.

IDC interview: The five stages of business mobility


Mobility - but only within certain areas

The reality is that usable mobile telecoms is far far from ubiquitous.

The telecoms marketing machine *and, with IDC, market consultants) have a tendency to quote the best figures in terms of bandwidth, coverage, etc. - i.e. static use in the middle of a well-covered town or city area.

In the real world, being able to connect to, and use effectively, services delivered over the (unwired) internet in _any_ location - is not yet (and may never be) a reality. And this has implications for dependence on e.g. cloud services which, if only intermittently available, are at best frustrating and at worst unusable.

Is it the end of Big Data? Quarta Horribilis for high-end storage


Not the end of Big Data volumes, but a consequence of Big Data approaches

It's not that the (Big) volumes of storage are decreasing, but rather the eclipse of high end (and very expensive) storage controllers, brought about by a) increasing amounts of storage attached directly to servers (e.g. in HDFS clusters) and b) various SAN virtualisation (Software defined Everything) technologies.

Hackers ZERO IN on ZOMBIE XP boxes: Get patching, Internet Explorer 8 users


Where's the surprise? This is nothing short of a protection racket.

So MS withdraw support.

MS announce vulns, and that they affect now unsupported MS products.

Hackers have a field day

Numerous nefarious actors must be thanking their lucky stars that MS's drive to force people to buy new versions of its OS apparently absolves MS from any responsibility for defects in its past products (still used on 30% of PCs).



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