* Posts by anthonyhegedus

721 posts • joined 9 Feb 2016


Contact-tracer spoofing is already happening – and it's dangerously simple to do

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Re: This is not how security works

phe.gov.uk? The one which is currently saying

This site can’t be reached

phe.gov.uk took too long to respond.


anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Dodo Harding!

Yes real security experts there. I got a call just now, and I'm sure it was genuine, they confirmed my address.

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

This is not how security works

I just got a text from 'UK_Gov' that said along the lines of "UK Gov National Shielding Service. Please expect a call from 03333 xxxxxx blah blah blah". We use a text message service for bulk texting some of our clients, and I tried to send myself a text with a 'from' of 'UK_Gov'. It didn't arrive. The service said it was delivered, so it must have been the carrier that blocked it.

So OK, that's *some* protection. At least one mobile provider blocked a spoof attempt at least once. I'm still not sure if they block spoofed phone calls. I could try, we have a service that used to let you do that for some reason, but I really don't want to.

I saw on TV in the last week, ministers and advisers have been asked twice how we'll know it's a genuine call. And twice they've said more or less the same thing, that it'll be obvious you're talking to a professional. Sorry, UK_GOV but that IS NOT HOW SECURITY WORKS!!

After all the excitement of Windows 10 2004, Insider builds go back to square one

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

No, we can't call it 2004 because Microsoft don't allow any other format that four digits for their version number and Microsoft, being the biggest fucking software company in the world, cannot for the life of them have worked out years ago, that that numbering scheme is only going to lead to problems. The next one is going to be 2009, 2010 or 2011. Brilliant, Microsoft, just brilliant!

Building society caught in middle of high street sharing a little too much on TeamViewer

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This is inexcusable and is indicative of just how seriously banks (and clearly building societies) take security. The larger banks are worse of course because they spend billions on advertising to lie to us about how much they care about security.

This'll make you feel old: Uni compsci favourite Pascal hits the big five-oh this year

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My first programming job, in 87, was to write a custom word processor using Borland's Turbo Pascal. They had a package that was basically the source code for a word processor, and I customised it to work like Wordstar, with extra features to add standard paragraphs for engineering schedules. I can't remember the name of the package - if someone can recall, I'd be grateful!

I remember bits of it well. All DOS-based. The hard disk of the PC XT I worked on was 10MB.

Trump issues toothless exec order to show donors, fans he's doing something about those Twitter twerps

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Re: Is it true

He's the direct lineal descendent (about 4 generations back) of something that crawled into a tree stump and died.

Laughing UK health secretary launches COVID-19 Test and Trace programme with glitchy website and no phone app

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

That DIldo woman seemingly ran talktalk rather badly. They wouldn't refund people who were mid-way through contracts and wanted to cancel. At the time, they were the most complained about ISP. Little has changed in 5 years.

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

"that is quite a big change and one of the things we have learned from the pilot is getting people used to that idea is important to do before we add the technological capability."

Translated into Truth Speak it's "It doesn't fucking work properly and we got it all wrong so we won't be ever releasing the app".

They were saying yesterday that the NHS contact tracers may phone or text people to isolate. They were also saying that the Isle of Wight app would pop up a message to isolate. People apparently found it disconcerting to be told by an app to isolate, as just a text message.

SO WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE??? An app tells you is no good. A text tells you, it is OK. What utter bollocks. The real reason the app isn't being released is that it's broken and they won't say.

Pablo Escobar's big bro and former accountant sues Apple for $2.6bn over FaceTime bug

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

slightly revised to help boslter Mr Escobar's ridiculous story:

"Dear Mr Escobar

I found your address through various facetime calls to your phone. Thanks for answering and showing me the nearby scenery, your front door and telling me your address anyway..."

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

What a load of garbage. It's all hinging on "The report also claimed that he paid for additional security features to ensure his phone was not susceptible to attacks."

It's clearly untruths on top of untruths as there's no such thing. Not for $100,000 anyway.

In any case, surely he should sue the people making death threats to him. Or is that too dangerous?

5G mast set aflame in leafy Liverpool district, half an hour's walk from Penny Lane

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Re: "The answer is stupid people"

... and fear of something new stems from ignorance. Only The Stupid would be frightened of 5G (having done their 'research' of course) because they don't have the intelligence OR the knowledge to know that 5G weaponised bats are not made by Chinese labs. They're made by our reptilian overlords of course, everyone knows that.

Das reboot: That's the only thing to do when the screenshot, er, freezes

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Back in the 90s, I once changed a colleague's Nokia phone profile to one I had created called 'SIM read error'. He said there for a good half hour rebooting it, reseating the SIM etc. until I let on.

It wasn't just a few credit cards: Entire travel itineraries were stolen by hackers, Easyjet now tells victims

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

How do we know they didn't steal passport number details as well?

AT&T slapped down for its '5GE' ads: You don’t have a proper 5G network, so stop saying so, says watchdog

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Why have the manufacturers colluded with AT&T to enable the '5G' indicator to be displayed in the first place?

Facebook to surround all of Africa in optical fibre and tinfoil

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Re: Undersea fiber-optic cable? Nice cover story!!

Down with Fibre! Fibre rings create covid-21 rays which will bring about mass surveillance of the Africans! Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos are in cahoots to make and sell GPS-chips that'll be injected and monitored by the Fibre, which will emit death-rays and 6G weaponised otters.

You can't have it both ways: Anti-coronavirus masks may thwart our creepy face-recog cameras, London cops admit

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Re: Lookie likey

White celebrities all look the same to me anyway.

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Re: Why bother?

WIlfully continuing to live after being told to stop by a police officer

Being in possession of curly hair and thick lips

Living in a residential area during the hours of darkness

Walking around with an offensive wife

Wearing a loud t-shirt

With thanks to Rowan Atkinson about 40 years ago - bloody hell!

ALGOL 60 at 60: The greatest computer language you've never used and grandaddy of the programming family tree

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

I've used Algol-60 at school

I did my AO-Level Computer Studies in 1983 it 1983 or 1982 (can't remember!) and I did my project in Algol-60. Because that's what we ran on our Research Machines 380Zs. It was a program to solve the N-Queens problem, using the process of making different permutations of the numbers 1-N, and I did it using recursion (because I could). Little did I realise at the time that it was really out of date, and there's no reason we couldn't have done it in Pascal or C. But that's all we had.

Mirror mirror on the wall, why will my mouse not work at all?

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

But if you're used to it...

I once saw a customer, a particularly elderly gentleman, who needed a new computer, and as part of the hardware I provided, he wanted a new mouse and keyboard. The big day came, I installed the new computer for him, along with its new keyboard and mouse. I noticed that he was using the mouse in an odd way, sort of prodding it and being rather amateur about the whole thing. Oh well, I thought, he's just getting used to it all.

The following week, I went round to check he was OK, and he said he loved the new computer, and that he'd got more or less got used to the mouse. I didn't quite know what he meant by 'getting used to it' - it was just a mouse after all. Then I realised. He still had his old computer there, and I pulled out the mouse. I asked him to show me how he used to use it. And he showed me. Mouse lead towards elbow, not towards computer. He's spent his whole computing life using a mouse the wrong way up, and had got so used to it, that it was second nature.

He told me he'd always wondered why he had trouble using his friend's computer. Now he knew.

Coronavirus didn't hurt UK broadband speeds in March. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, on the other hand...

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

"still far fewer down times - just one hour in the last week or so."

"As long as I don't expect to stream video in the evening"

That doesn't sound ideal. I've had 12 minutes downtime in the last year. I remember it well. And evening times is when I expect to stream. And I do.

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Every customer we've ever had who uses virgin has had problems since the day of install, and forever after. Generally it's OK but when it's bad, it's very bad and it happens too often.

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Cat videos aside, I did read that Netflix and Amazon Prime would be reducing their bitrates on HD and UHD movies (in Netflix's case, halving the rate of UHD from 15.25 to 7.62Mbps). They said they're doing this to 'help' people by reducing the load on internet providers to help Britain 'keep working' (or some such nonsense) as usage of these streaming services increases because people are at home. I found out later that actually Netflix and Amazon have costs associated with streaming, and they pay by the GB. They were probably concerned that their costs might increase by more than the number of new subscriptions.

So they're not doing this to help anyone, they're just looking to help themselves and reduce losses.

Anyway, all I can report is that the loss is really not visible with Netflix, either with UHD or HD movies. You don't see quite as much high-end detail in Netflix, but it's still very good. However, I've noticed that HD movies in Amazon Prime have lost so much quality that you see low-resolution artefacts and it's quite distracting.

Openreach tells El Reg it'll kill off copper sales in 118 UK locations next year

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330Mbps though?

Most of Openreach's Fibre connects to equipment at the exchange that can only provide 330Mbps download (and 50 Mbps upload). It might not matter to most people but I do hope that they're putting in better kit now. Now people might realise that 1Gbps both ways might actually be necessary to have better quality video calling. Yes, 50Mbps will be absolutely fine too, but why not do it properly? Then we know that everybody with broadband will be able to connect and not have to worry who else in the house is using Netflix, gaming or other video calls.

Latest Microsoft 365 'wave of innovation' really just involves adding or renaming a bunch of update channels

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

...and the end user will just see 'oh for fucks sake another update' and never restart their PC until it slows down to a crawl just before a teams video call, then restart, and then miss the first 10 minutes of the call while their computer installs updates.

Sky Broadband is not the UK's cheapest, growls ad watchdog

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

SO what does 'wifi guarantee' actually mean?

India says its brains saved the world from the last colosso-crisis – cough, Y2K – proving it can become self-reliant

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Well, they're pretty much replete with scammy call centres. How long before it'll feature in India's top 10 exports? Perhaps we'll start to take India seriously in the IT community when they make it easier to hunt down and shut down these very dangerous companies that keep springing up.

Press F2 to pay respects. New Xiaomi Poco Pro has 5G, top-drawer Snapdragon chippery, 64MP camera

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Re: 120Hz refresh rates

My iPad has a 120Hz screen. You do notice it when scrolling. It generally makes animations look better. It just makes the whole experience look smoother.

Mad dash for webcams with surge in videoconferencing has turned out rather nicely for Logitech

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

It's interesting the way that people are now getting used to webcams. A straw poll of our customers indicates that many of them will stay working at home, meeting their clients via Skype or Zoom or Teams. People prefer it. Why get in a car, or get on a train or bus and go all the way somewhere to meet someone when you can see them from your spare room or sofa or whatever?

And this brings up the question of better broadband. Some of our customers just cannot do this, because they can't get decent broadband at their homes.

Microsoft doc formats are the bane of office suites on Linux, SoftMaker's Office 2021 beta may have a solution

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Re: Seems like a losing battle, and there's an elephant in the room

Myself, I'll use google docs and google sheets within my company because... it works. It does most of what I want most of the time, and I never need to share documents with other companies without converting them to PDF first anyway.

But there's no way I could persuade any of our business customers to use it. They just want to use Word and Excel because they always have.

My kids on the other hand, have been using Google Docs from school right through to university. They can't understand why anyone would try and write a thesis in Word.

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Seems like a losing battle, and there's an elephant in the room

First of all, Libreoffice has the same option to use Microsoft XML or Opendocument XML, so I can't see what the big play is surrounding file formats.

But moving on, we've had several clients where we've tried to help them save money by using LibreOffice. The best I can say is that some of them 'put up with it'. Every single end user has complained about documents either not formatting correctly, or when they send them to MS Office-using recipients, that they can't open documents properly (if at all). Our clients have tried, and are happy to pay a sub to Microsoft rather than struggle with the likes of LibreOffice.

It's a great idea, but unless it's just for one person, and they never need to exchange documents with anyone, using alternatives to MS Office just isn't a viable option any more.

And the prices that Softmaker charge are around the same as a personal MS Office subscription, so I can't see the advantage.

I would love to be able to say to end users that they have an alternative (in a business setting), but there's an elephant in the room - Outlook. We have tried this time and time again, and practically nobody likes to use alternatives (e.g. Thunderbird). People like Outlook because it's virtually ubiquitous. No matter how similar to Outlook an alternative looks (e.g. eMclient), people just don't get on with it. This new Softmaker package doesn't include an Outlook replacement and people are going to wonder what the point of it is.

Much as I hate the fact that Microsoft have a virtually total monopoly on Office apps, it is the first choice for the vast majority of business users.

NHS contact-tracing app is best in the world, says VMware CEO... whose company helped build it

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Any face covering will do according to the news item I saw at around 10am on 12/5/2020 on Sky News. I'll watch the news again at 11 and see just how much the information has changed. It'll be something along the lines of 'do wear a mask, unless it's not a mask, in which case make sure you're 2m away from your daughter, unless she's your cleaner, in which case you can see her at your house, without a mask but with alertness'

Incredible how you can steal data via Thunderbolt once you've taken the PC apart, attached a flash programmer, rewritten the firmware...

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Even if you did have your laptop stolen, and you'd left it in sleep mode, the miscreant couldn't read your hard disk, only the contents of RAM, or is that the point - that the miscreant could then find the keys to decrypt the HD? Did I miss something?

What do you call megabucks Microsoft? No really, it's not a joke. El Reg needs you

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Yes, I think Winzilla is good, I second that.

Behold: The ghastly, preening, lesser-spotted Incredible Bullsh*tting Customer

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Fake BT Call

I'm not sure why, but this reminds me of an incident with a client who rang and told me he'd just got a call from BT telling him that his broadband will be disconnected and his computer is infected. I told him that it's just a scam, that we provide his broadband anyway, and that it's all untrue.

"But what about my PC being infected?"

I explained that his PC wasn't infected, it was just a scam call and that they didn't know who he was.

"but they told me that my computer is sending out viruses"

I explained that it wasn't true - it was a con, and that everything the guy told him was untrue.

"but he got me to go into the event viewer thing on my PC and told me I had errors, which I had"

Jesus, I thought, I just want to get off the phone. I patiently explained that every single piece of information the guy had told him was not true.

"Can you check my computer, just in case"

Well, I tried to say no, there's no point. But he insisted. He insisted on a thorough check. I spent two hours scanning and checking his computer remotely while I did some other more pointful work. We charged him two hours of time and he was delighted.

Sometimes, customers will NOT be told, but sometimes it's to our advantage I guess

Baby Diesel? Little d'Artagnan? There is another child of Musk in the world

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

What a complete cockwomble

Would you buy a car from a company where the CEO is this unhinged? He's a clown.

UK finds itself almost alone with centralized virus contact-tracing app that probably won't work well, asks for your location, may be illegal

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

I've taken several things away from this:

1. The app isn't really going to work

I keep thinking that I want to do my civic duty, and I don't care as much as maybe I should that they have my personal data.

BUT... if I had it confirmed that if the google-apple API allowed more data to be gathered AND it could potentially save more lives by using a central database, would we seriously allow more people to actually die for the sake of data privacy? It's not a tough call to make... it doesn't require any specific restrictions on everyone's lives, and it could save lives. I hope I'm wrong about that. Are we a species so stupid that we put data privacy over actual LIFE?

The Great British anti-5G fruitcake Bakeoff: Group hugs, no guns, and David Icke

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Some of these views are downright vile. Icke has touched on anti-semistism. These virus-denying loons have started making comparisons between nazi laws about jews with lock-down laws during an epidemic.

This needs to be shut down but organisations like facebook and google are slow to do so, because they make money out of the ads.

As Brit cyber-spies drop 'whitelist' and 'blacklist', tech boss says: If you’re thinking about getting in touch saying this is political correctness gone mad, don’t bother

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

It’s a bit of a grey area.

I’ll get my coat. It’s the zebra patterned one.

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"Oh, that was easy," says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.”

Square peg of modem won't fit into round hole of PC? I saw to it, bloke tells horrified mate

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

I once went to someone's house for a callout (when I did home visits in the early 2000s). I had to install broadband, through a USB ADSL modem. They told me they got that because they could never get the dialup to work, despite having bought lots of modems and installed them. I noticed the PC had something loose inside so I opened it up. In it were three loose 56K modem cards (PCI ISTR). They'd been just lying loose in the bottom of the PC case, and luckily not touching anything or shorting something. "I thought the box was a storage area" came the reply. He didn't realise it was the computer.

Let that sink in. This guy thought the PC case was merely a place to store stuff. And a place to 'connect the wires together too' I suppose. Who knows.

In trying times like these, it's reassuring to know you can still get pwned five different ways by Adobe Illustrator files

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Adobe acrobastard reader is bad enough. At least it doesn’t default to installing mcafee nonsense any more.

More than one-fifth of smartphone sales evaporate in China as pandemic grips Middle Kingdom

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

That’s interesting because I was beginning to suspect that having a smartphone was de facto compulsory in China. You can’t actually get into places without the coronavirus app telling people you’re probably not infectious.

Salt peppered with holes? Automation tool vulnerable to auth bypass: Patch now

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

All we need is a bunch of nasty ransomware infections distributed across home PCs all over the place.

Academics demand answers from NHS over potential data timebomb ticking inside new UK contact-tracing app

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

With the best will in the world, getting 60% of the population to sign up to an app is going to be hard work. I would have thought it's better to have 60% using an app that doesn't quite get all the useful info is better than having well under 60% using an app that gets more useful info.

Prank warning: You do know your smart speaker's paired with Spotify over the internet, don't you?

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Happened to me

I remember back a few years ago, I was listening to some relaxing Beethoven on the way to work and suddenly it starts playing some 'Gangsta Rap' with some rather unrepeatable lyrics. This would happen every day for a week until I realised that I'd put Spotify on my teenage daughter's phone and she worked out that she could prank me by forcing her 'music' through my phone in the car. She had worked out exactly which music I'd least prefer to listen to.

You can get a mechanical keyboard for £45. But should you? We pulled an Aukey KM-G6 out of the bargain bin

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Whilst I understand they may be good for gaming, are these mechanical keyboards any good for actual work? Leaving aside the obvious problem of annoying your colleagues in an office, do they make your typing more precise? Is the build quality and reliability higher? Is it worth paying £45 for a wired keyboard?

Past three months were a rollercoaster for Microsoft: Ad spending down, PCs and gaming flat, cloud climbing amid work-from-home demand

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Well, it's good to see Microsoft still has time to rename all their office 365 products, thus keeping us on our toes. It seems to be part of a general effort to keep us confused, and waste time explaining the name change to our customers.

India to build contact-tracing app for feature phones that still use 2G, don't have Bluetooth and can't run apps

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Sounds like a non-starter to me. Even if you could get reasonably accurate location data from the networks themselves, that wouldn't get height information, so pretty useless when people are on different levels in buildings. All it could be used for is giving a reasonable probability that someone is part of a crowd. It could just be an excuse for the Indian government to track its citizens more closely.

Apple chucks $3 at iPhone users after killing FaceTime on iOS 6 because it didn't want to pay connectivity charges

anthonyhegedus Silver badge

Yes, it’s annoying. But technology moves on. Apple should have kept the service going at least till iOS 9. But lots of things break when OSes get an upgrade.

Maybe the issue is that they could have kept it going a while longer. At the end of the day it benefits nobody but the lawyers. It certainly doesn’t benefit the end users. We are learning more and more that not everything works if it’s profit driven.

Apple could keep old things working, but it would be at the expense of innovation. Apple could innovate constantly and that would be at the expense of fairly recent devices reaching their end of life too quickly. It’s got to be a balance.

I bought the original iPad not long after it came out. 18 months later it was unable to run some of my apps because they needed the latest OS and the latest OS wasn’t available for the iPad 1. I sold it, and didn’t buy another iPad.



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