Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Sacrifices Arms to Avoid Predators

The squid Octopoteuthis deletron will drop portions of an arm to escape from a predator.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven't covered.

Posted on August 24, 2012 at 4:32 PM • 47 Comments

Comments

GodelAugust 24, 2012 7:21 PM

Another dud electronic lock design, the Onity HT, estimated 4 million in use in hotels:

http://www.gizmag.com/onity-lock-hack/23840/

'The problem is this. Each HT series lock includes a DC charger port on its underside. This is used by hotel staff not only to recharge the lock's batteries, but also to program the lock with the hotel's unique 32-bit sitecode. With a self-programmed Arduino board, a 5.6 k pull-up resistor, and a DC connector, you have the gear you need to talk to the lock. Obviously it's not as simple as sending an "Open Sesame" message to the lock—not quite, anyway. For that you'd need to know the 32-bit sitecode. How do you get the sitecode? Turns out you just ask the lock for it.

"Given an address, the lock will send back 16 bytes of memory from that point," '

Clive RobinsonAugust 24, 2012 11:24 PM

@ Godel,

The lock designers have obviously not read this site, I've mentioned this problem Oh so many times before.

The reason it happens is "maintanence", the least reliable part of the lock is the battery the next is the mechanics and finaly (if designed properly) the electronics.

So Joey Buck in maintanence gets told room X has a door lock malfunction. To minimise room down time he takes a new battery and a new set of lock parts up with him. If it's the battery his little gizmo provides external power and the door opens, he then unscrews the cover plate pops the old battery out puts the new one in and is done in five minutes and the room is back in service.

However if it's the lock mechanics it takes a little longer depending on which part broke. Joey's priority is to get the room back in service, and it's a reasonable assumption if one part has broken there are going to be other parts damaged so replacing the whole mechanics is both the quicker and safer option.

The problem is that the way the mechanics are designed you cannot just pop out the electronics and swap them into a new lock in a couple of minutes.

So as room down time minimisation is the highest priority the solution is to "clone the lock" which in essence means copying the "room secret" and "room time" "Service list" and log from the broken lock to the new lock and any other relevant information (such as if it's a party door between rooms etc).

The way this is often done is by providing a binary memory copy. In older locks where the data was actually stored in a seperate Flash Chip the pins to the chip were actually brought out (via resistors etc) to the socket thus allowing for even the lock CPU to fail but cloning to still happen.

Well in old locks (a quater of a century or more ago) you had no choice but to live with little security on the flash chip. But since most modern micro controlers have the flash in the CPU chip much higher levels of security are now possible.

But due to backwards compatability and the apparent lack of need for extra security no changes have been made under the doctrine of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

John SmithAugust 25, 2012 1:50 PM

We've had a lot of comments about guns and the danger/safety they represent in recent weeks, to say nothing of terrorism. Has anyone been following the recent shooting in NYC?

It seems this fellow has a disagreement with another fellow, lots of legal action back and forth, bad blood, that sort of thing. It escalates. The assassin ambushes and kills the other fellow. Specifically he shoots the other fellow in the head, and then 4 more times after he's on the ground. Total 5 shots. Note that his gun only holds 7 shots. The other two bullets were recovered intact and not discharged, one in the gun and the other ejected onto the sidewalk.

Two police officers are nearby and respond surprisingly quickly. The assassin, who is now walking away, turns and draws his gun as if to fire. He does not actually fire. The police open fire discharging something like 16 bullets in 8 seconds on a crowded NYC sidewalk hitting 9 other people with varying degrees of severity. Government officials support their officers actions to the hilt.

From a purely security perspective, it's an interesting model. You don't actually have to hurt anyone. Just pretend to deploy a weapon in a crowded area, and watch the police response create all the innocent casualties.

We've all been taught to fear the mythical boogeyman terrorist. And yet, if we actually want to live, well to hell with the terrorist, lets watch out for the cops trying to get the terrorist who don't care how many innocents they harm in the process.

If any non-cop went on a shooting rampage like this, hitting 9 random innocent people with gunfire, it would be all over the news about how bad guns are, how awful this tragedy is, blah blah blah. But the cops do it and it's all peaches and roses? About how if ONLY the assassin hadn't had a gun this tragedy could have been averted? Do papers and media outlets really think we're this gullible? This stupid? That the assassin wouldn't have just used a knife or club, with the same tragic results from the cops?

It's disturbing on so many levels, not in the least the distressingly obvious bias throughout nearly all forms of mass-media. Which creates interesting security problems in and of itself...

FigureitoutAugust 25, 2012 2:12 PM

The dropping of a limb is freaky enough, but then the subsequent regeneration of the limb is what gets me; how does that evolve?! It must be painful too? Apparently, they also minimize losses by having multiple places to drop the limb, only nearest where it's being pulled.

@Barry Freed

LOL, that's definitely going to be a squid post. What happened at the 2:18 mark? Reminded me of Benga & Coki's 'Night' music video :)

Plus it's a cool yet simple experiment to recreate! All materials are easy to get, besides the live squid...Bruce can you help me out? :)

I want to try a language/sound experiment and how they stimulate brains before I'm gone. The three sounds I'm fixated on now are the "ee", "psy" or phonetically "sigh", and the "ation" or phoneticaly "a-shun". For instance, kids very early on learn to say "mommy" or "daddy"; does that "y" or "ee" sound evoke comfort feelings? And "psy" or "cy" has a cold connotation. Hence you have "psychotic", "cyborg", "excite" or "cyberwar". Lastly, the "ation" sound; propag-ation, modul-ation. It's the up-down/high-low sound that I'm after. Or the "blah-blue-blay-shun" acoustic rollercoaster that I'm interested in. You could go through entire languages finding these sounds, and they likely differ among people using different languages. So does using these sounds within words that evoke feelings make what you are saying more persuasive, have more impact and "stick to the neurons", or "tickle the brain"; I don't know, just thinking...

quarter to nineAugust 25, 2012 2:47 PM

@John Smith,

This isn't the best blog to promogulate private gun ownership...... Standby for a backlash of sorts.

QTN

A Nonny BunnyAugust 25, 2012 4:41 PM

@John Smith

I don't think it's correct to compare the action of two police officers doing their job (putting aside for a moment whether they did it well or not) with laymen doing someone else's job.

If a surgeon cuts out someone's appendix but makes a fatal mistake, that's a hell of a lot different from me taking a scalpel to someone trying to remove an appendix and making a fatal mistake.
It's not my job and I'm not trained for it. While it may be the same result on the surface, it's not actually comparable because you shouldn't compare anecdotal events but statistical data. And statistically wielding a scalpel just makes me a danger to myself and the people around me, while it makes a surgeon someone who saves and improves lives.

It's factored into these kinds of jobs that mistakes can and do happen. But training should ensure they happen much less often than if laymen were trying to do the same job. I'm fairly certain that's also actually the case, but of course that's ultimately an empirical question which should be borne out by the data.

Shooting nine innocent bystanders is certainly tragic, but not in the same way it would be if some layperson did it. It's tragic in the way that professionals using their best judgments making fatal/injurious mistakes is tragic.

Notwithstanding, it should of course be examined whether they actually used their best judgements, whether that judgement was good, etc (but without succumbing to hindsight bias).
Personally, I think it might have been a better idea to let a suspect get a way than firing a hail of bullets into a crowded sidewalk when, apparently, you can't even hit your target half the time.
Perhaps their training leaves something to be desired (which puts culpability on the system more than them, and is tragic in yet another way).

Blog Reader OneAugust 25, 2012 7:34 PM

Techdirt recently talked about a situation where official gathering of data may not necessarily facilitate the ability to make sense of the data:
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120823/09265720135/nsa-put-premium-collecting-info-not-making-sense-it.shtml

Earlier on, Techdirt talked about humans being a weakness in security chains (note the remark about "'hacking' actual human beings" in the case of the "strip search prank call" scam.) In addition, the Techdirt article mentioned possible techniques for guarding against social engineering attacks, including consideration of things such as employer-employee relations and trust issues.

https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120810/18401819991/humans-still-weakest-link-security-chain.shtml

John SmithAugust 26, 2012 1:48 PM

@QTN

This isn't the best blog to promote private gun ownership...... Standby for a backlash of sorts.

A sizable portion of the population favors private gun ownership. Another large portion despises it. Both sides suffer from emotionally-derived viewpoints. Logic is irrelevant. Facts are irrelevant. Each is utterly convinced they are right, and the other side is wrong. Each will do anything to "educate" the wrong side. It's a classic holy war. As such, open discourse is largely impossible. Still, we try.

The points I'm struggling and failing to make are:

* That security can be turned against the defender. In this case, merely threatening to use a weapon got 9 innocent bystanders shot.

* More security does not always make you safer. This is at the heart of asymmetrical warfare. The concept of getting your enemy to do more damage to themselves than you can hope to do to them.

It's the core of 9/11 and subsequent attacks, openly bragged about by our enemies. They want to spend a thousand dollars on a failed attack to get us to spend a million. Or a billion. Now we have moved beyond that. We are killing and wounding our own people directly, be it with cancer and porno-scanners or, as in this case, simply gunning them down in the name of "security".

*) We no longer question authority. That is even more horrifying. If our security forces can commit any atrocity, with little or no repercussions...

I'm not saying that what these two police officers did was right. I'm not saying it was wrong. I'm questioning why no one is questioning it! Why are they getting a free pass?

That scares me. Without some sort of feedback or control in the loop, things can get way out of hand far far too quickly.

Why do you assume the police are interesting in protecting or helping us?


@A Nonny Bunny

I don't think it's correct to compare the action of two police officers doing their job (putting aside for a moment whether they did it well or not) with laymen doing someone else's job.

I wasn't talking about a layman trying to stop a homicidal maniac. I meant how if a homicidal maniac pulled out a gun in a supermarket and shot 9 people, we'd all be rooting for the death penalty. But the cops gun down 9 innocent people and that's suddenly all peaches and roses? It's a little too discordant for me.

As a country, do we really want to be in a situation where, if some bad guy takes you hostage, it's okay for the cops to just gun you down so they can get the bad guy? How will you feel if it happens in a school? If it's your wife, or your kids, who are hostages?

If a surgeon cuts out someone's appendix but makes a fatal mistake, that's a hell of a lot different from me taking a scalpel to someone trying to remove an appendix and making a fatal mistake.

Will the guy die without surgery? Can you get him to a hospital in time?

We assume the surgeon won't make basic mistakes.

But somehow the police firing blindly into a crowd, missing their target half the time at very close range. That's okay because their professionals? We can't even question it?

It's factored into these kinds of jobs that mistakes can and do happen. But training should ensure they happen much less often than if laymen were trying to do the same job. I'm fairly certain that's also actually the case, but of course that's ultimately an empirical question which should be borne out by the data.

Fine. Go ahead. Dig into the data for yourself! It's horrifying. Really really horrifying. Being innocent yet nearby police activity is quite harmful to your health.

What's far more scary is how nobody knows about the data. It's kept quiet. It's hushed up. You don't see it in the papers, or on TV. You can find it if you look but nobody looks. That's a problem. The media and government giving a blanket pass is a problem. Without checks and balances, the system can degenerate out of control.

I'm not saying what these police officers did was right or wrong. I'm troubled by how nobody questions it.

Shooting nine innocent bystanders is certainly tragic, but not in the same way it would be if some layperson did it.

Today it's 9. How many will it be tomorrow? How will you feel when your "in" the group? Or your wife? Or your kids?

You think it won't happen? We have laws on the books now permitting forced inoculation of the entire population, against any individual's wishes, against any doctor's advice, knowing full well the vaccine will kill a subset of the population including that particular individual.

How will you feel when nobody questions it? When you are the one being killed?

Personally, I think it might have been a better idea to let a suspect get away than firing a hail of bullets into a crowded sidewalk when, apparently, you can't even hit your target half the time.

Quite possibly. Then again, what would we be saying if the suspect had gone on to gun down everyone he saw on the subway? It is always hard to second guess these things, and terribly easy to place blame after the fact. I'm as guilty of that as anyone.

Perhaps their training leaves something to be desired (which puts culpability on the system more than them, and is tragic in yet another way).

Indeed. One of the problems is how police seem to keep protecting themselves at the expense of everyone else.

Another good question would be the bullets/weapons: Would non-lethal weapons have been more effective? How about non-lethal ammunition? Or using bullets that disintegrate after 20 or 30 feet, as opposed to bullets that can still wound or kill hundreds of feet away in the middle of one of the most densely populated areas of North America?

There are good questions here that should be asked.

.

NobodySpecialAugust 26, 2012 4:58 PM

@John Smith - I think you do have to question the training, both marksmanship and psychophysical of the officers concerned.
You do see this on news footage of police actions, alongside a small number of, presumably specialist, snipers armed with rifles - every other police office has his/her hand gun drawn and ready.
Why ? In case the experts all miss? To provide extra sound effects for the News crews?

Massed 'fire and motion' is great for keeping an enemies head down while you advance in combat - but not sure that massed random firepower is necessarily the best thing to use on city streets.

Incidentaly police use bullets which are designed to kill but over a relatively short range to reduce the risks to bystanders - but if you do shoot straight at an innocent person at short range there isn't much the bullet can do.

No OneAugust 27, 2012 8:48 AM

Re: Surgeon vs. Cop

If a surgeon screws up I or my family sues him. His reputation suffers. His bank account (in the form of higher malpractice insurance costs) suffers.

If a cop screws up the thin blue line protects him. He may even be decorated for perforating the suspect. He is largely unaccountable.

If the cops and NYPD were more accountable for the harm they impose on innocent bystanders they would change their procedures accordingly. As it is the cops have little incentive to avoid unnecessary bloodshed and their choice of training and gear supports that -- NYPD police officers are only required to spend 50 rounds on the range each year at a yearly qualification. Other police departments require 200 rounds plus qualification every quarter. NYPD sidearms are set to a 12 lb. trigger pull because they were negligently discharging too often due to poor trigger discipline when unholstering firearms. The factory setting for their weapons is anywhere from 5.5 lbs to 10 lbs. That extra pull makes you miss targets unless you're putting thousands of hours into range time to correct for it.

No OneAugust 27, 2012 8:54 AM

Sorry for the double post, but didn't see this the first time.

Re: NobodySpecial, "police use bullets which are designed to kill but over a relatively short range"

Not quite, they use bullets that are designed to have less penetration (hollowpoints) both because they more effectively take down targets and are less likely to pierce concrete. A 9mm hollowpoint is still fully effective out to 50 yards or more. Even still, a hollowpoint can through-and-through without much difficulty if it strikes an arm or lower torso and still remain effective coming out the other side.

No OneAugust 27, 2012 10:25 AM

@John Smith, "Another good question would be the bullets/weapons: Would non-lethal weapons have been more effective? How about non-lethal ammunition? Or using bullets that disintegrate after 20 or 30 feet, as opposed to bullets that can still wound or kill hundreds of feet away in the middle of one of the most densely populated areas of North America?"

1. There's no such thing as a non-lethal weapon. There are, however, less-lethal weapons.

2. The risk in this case was that the gunman was going to open fire. Less-lethal responses were inappropriate at this time since none of them can incapacitate him in a manner that would have prevented him from pulling the trigger. Less-lethal weapons have three effects: pain -- used for pain compliance, blinding/deafening -- used to disorient the target so that he can't attack effectively, electric shock -- can disable the CNS if administered correctly.

Pain compliance doesn't help very much when a target has a weapon and is in range of any targets -- a gun has a very long effective range.

Blinding/deafening doesn't help very much when the target doesn't need accuracy to hit someone -- the guy was in a crowded area, any stray shot was likely to injure someone.

Electric shock only works when administered properly and is unreliable at best -- finger on the trigger means a shock could just cause him to start shooting.

Now, as to bullets that disintegrate after x feet. There exist some shot shells that /could/ be lethal within 10' but not out to 50', but that's a huge gamble. Individual shot could still blind or get lucky and clip an important vein or artery at range. A group of shot small enough that its effective range is very limited is likely to be unable to cause stopping force level damage at 10' since it won't penetrate deep enough to take a target down. You could try using something ablative like tracer rounds but tuning them would be horrendous and lethality would just diminish as mass is ejected over time. Explosive rounds made up of a very thin jacket with a sintered lead core could do what you want actually. Tuning them to explode precisely after x feet would be expensive as hell since you're really relying on precision machining and manufacture for milli- or nano-second precision. At 1800 fps you're talking about 14-19 ms for a 25'-35' burn time.

The technology really isn't there at the moment for something that reliably disables without killing.

karrdeAugust 27, 2012 10:49 AM

@John Smith, @A Nonny Bunny,

The shooting of bystanders is pretty surprising. (However, I'll note that the injuries to bystanders are usually described as minor, or non-life-threatening. Good news, I think.)

Whether these Policemen were above average, average, or below-average, I will note that in this situation they scored a high number of shots on-target.

Most stats of Police shootings I've seen give values between 20% and 30% for bullets hitting the target.* Based on the rarity of stories in which bystanders are hit by Police, I'll assume that those other bullets usually find non-human targets.

Thus, this event may be an outlier. (Is it an outlier because the Police usually don't deal with armed suspects in areas with lots of bystanders? Or is it an outlier because of the hit rate on bystanders? I'd guess the former, but I'm not sure I can find a source on that.)

I'm actually wondering if the suspect was threatening the Police with the gun, or drawing it so that he could lay it on the ground and surrender. (Note that he is not said to have fired in a time interval in which two Police fired 16 shots. They claim to have seen him draw the weapon...)

However, the Police are still justified, in my opinion. They saw a suspect drawing a weapon.

-----------------------------------------------
*Interestingly, I can't find a well-cited, carefully-sourced study with a few minutes of searching.

But I did find this
http://www.policeone.com/officer-shootings/...

The article is dated from 2005. The source appears to be a website by and for Police officers.

I haven't seen any research on Police shooting that separates variables in this way. (Shootings in daylight vs. low-light settings, shootings by solo officers vs. shootings by multiple officers, etc.)

The article claims that hit-rates are high in good lighting conditions, and decline in bad lighting conditions. It also claims that hit-rates decline when multiple officers are shooting.

karrdeAugust 27, 2012 10:52 AM

Interesting sidenote:

The PoliceOne.com website I found had a short blurb about the NY shooting.

http://www.policeone.com/officer-shootings/...

It's mostly about the man who helped Police find the shooter. It mentions the 9 bystanders who were wounded.

But there's not much else in the channel, yet...Is that because these authors don't think this is a surprising event, or is it because they are willing to wait until all the data is gathered and published?

LukeAugust 27, 2012 11:34 AM

>> Losing limbs can create difficulties in swimming and capturing food, however. It also means surrendering the light-emitting organ on the squid's arm tip, which scientists believe could lure prey or mates. But it's a loss worth taking: "It doesn't do you any good to look for a mate if you are already dead," says biologist Richard Young from the University of Hawaii, at Manoa, who first described the species 40 years ago.

Clearly, evolution favors loss mitigation in tandem with other defense strategies.

nycmanAugust 28, 2012 9:49 AM

TSA Researches Avatars For Airport Security Checkpoints

One of the requirements: The system should "be courteous when communicating to the traveling public". Perhaps the TSA is aware that some of their agents are not the most courteous. The article also mentions that they're looking to purchase 1,000 Macs and 1,000 iPhones, iPads, and iPods for app dev. That's a lot of app dev.

http://www.informationweek.com/government/...

Dirk PraetAugust 28, 2012 4:37 PM

@ A Nonny Bunny

Shooting nine innocent bystanders is certainly tragic, but not in the same way it would be if some layperson did it.

To those who were shot and their relatives, it most certainly is not. As if they would give a toss whether they'd been shot by a terrorist, a layman, a cop, or the Pope for that matter. Fact of the matter is that the officers in retrospect completely misjudged the situation, full stop. The moment you start justifying the shooting of nine innocent bystanders to take out one guy with a gun, you are going down the same slippery slope the Russians did when dealing with their theatre and school hostage situations a couple of years ago.

@ Clive

That is one the best articles I've read in quite a while.

ThunderbirdAugust 29, 2012 2:03 PM

Hmm. Speaking of unfortunate design, guess what happens if you spend a half hour writing a response and you forget to type something in the "Name" box? You get a page telling you to put something in the Name box and you lose your post.

I guess everyone will have to get by without yet another insightful comment on the New York bystander shooting....

WaelAugust 29, 2012 3:17 PM

@ Nick P,

Interesting first link. I have a few comments (of course)...

1- Seems to me "Ben Tomhave" has limited his view of security to IT related issues and processes. He did not treat HW/SW, Architecture, or "product security"

2- "Bastard Operator from Hell" brings back some nice memories, when I used to read it when I was bored or down :)

3- The link within the link "Is your definition of security holding you back?" and the comment "Take 5 minutes and write down your definition of the word security, " I asked." is something I have done few years ago (in some languages, few is defined as between 3 and 9). That is one reason I also raised that issue here. Remember? :)

I also liked the Area 51 comment, but will refrain from funny comments (if mine ever were) since I already have a "steeeeeerike one" under my belt with the Moderator ;)

Good read...

Nick PAugust 29, 2012 3:38 PM

@ Bruce Schneier

One more good article for the day. You might like this one from Daniel Geer at In-Q-Tel, CIA's venture capital & R&D group. Very thoughtful, sometimes funny, analysis of a tough subject. He leaves the security field with three possibilities. Thoughts?

http://geer.tinho.net/...

@ Wael

Yeah, Tomhave mostly focuses on GRC-related stuff. You could say he operates more on the management side of security. I think those models still need to integrate things like software- or system-level risk reduction strategies, such as reverse buffer. That change makes buffer overflows unlikely, but do their tools account for that? Probably not.

Clive RobinsonAugust 30, 2012 1:48 AM

@ Jacob,

Usually when you want something bad...

Firstly I've stopped reading Wired's danger room, because it's become like the UK's "Daily Mail" and needs a "health/sanity warning".

That said the arguments about "cyber-space" are without doubt being twisted and spun in all sorts of directions by those with "appropriations agenders" and little consideration for the overall effect of their tax grab missions.

The reality is "cyberspace" is the memory on somebodies computer be it primary, secondary or tertiary storage. And almost invariably the computer belongs to somebody else when talking of "Cyber-crime/warfare", so we are talking "breaking and entry" / "invasion" in real world terms, both of which are aggressive actions and illegal in terms of criminal law and international treaty especially when commited against a civilian poppulation.

The reason that these illegal attacks are possible is the lamentable state of what we laughingly call "computer security" that many of us on this blog are practitioners in (and arguably partialy culpable for the current state of affairs).

And this lamentable state of affairs is primarly down to a handfull of US corporations putting marketing wishes ahead of security necessities. Which as it is in effect an unregulated or "free market" positivly encorages a "race for the bottom" on non "market advantage" asspects such as security.

In effect we have built not just a house of cards but a whole shanty town of them, just waiting for one small spark to burn the whole edifice down.

And our appropriations grabing war hawks want tax dollars to become not just "fire jugglers" in everybody elses shanty towns they want to train up to become fully paid up card carrying arsonists.

Why because they figure the security battle is lost and thus the only defensive stratagie that will work is that out of the "first strike doctrine" play book for beginners.

Back in the Victorian era in the UK we realised (but appear to have now forgoton) that a population needs to be healthy, educated and strong to be successfull. Thus various people went about charitably helping those around them making society healthier and safer for all. Over the years it became more and more the function of the state to provide these worthwhile necessities and the rot set in (ie became bribes to voters). However be for state intervention an important ideal came to be expressed in a single sentiment,

Charity begins at home

And in our current very sick and vulnerable cyber-society we should remeber this and start thinking along the lines of,

Security begins at home

Before we espouse the notion of spreading disease and pestilence to other societies...

Put simply the nations most vulnerable to cyber attacks be they criminal or invasion are the western nations and our societies are so reliant on technology that we are the most vulnerable due to the fragility that "free market" forces have brought about.

As has been observed before,

Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones

And for those WASP nations who promote Christianity perhaps that little bit in the bible about,

Let those amongst you without sin cast the first stone

Should be upermost in their minds when talking about the "first strike doctrine" on "Cyber" systems that belong to others.

Clive RobinsonAugust 30, 2012 1:53 AM

@ Thunderbird,

Hmm. Speaking of unfortunate design, guess what happens...

Unlike other blogs, the back button in (most) browsers should take you back to your original words of wisdom. If not look for an alternative browser that does.

I'm sure if you asked many people would let you know from their own experiance which browsers work that way on this blog.

Clive RobinsonAugust 30, 2012 4:30 AM

@ Nick P, Wael,

Nick with regards to your first link the whole article has as it's underlying principle "risk" as the path to enlightenment.

That is he says he likes Dan Greer's recent turn towards reliability but does not analyse the implication [1] of the underlying risk assesment.

And "risk models" are the real problem with the idea and one of two reasons why it will probably fail to show any real improvment.

Nearly all our current risk models have underlying assumptions which are fine if you stay within the constraints they impose but extreamly problematical if you don't.

Two fairly recent examples of inappropriate use of risk models are "The Banking Crisis" and "High Frequency Trades".

Generaly these assumptions are due to "time", "physicality", "forces" and "predictability" that charecterise or physical world.

Whilst the apply to tangible physical objects, the do not of necesity apply to intangible information objects.

We say "accidents happen" and yes they do, but the implication is that they are individually random and unpredictable (which they are not). The insurance industry however knows from long years of record keeping that although individual events appear totaly random on mass in a sufficiently large population they show a very clear trend with time.

In this respect they are a bit like radiation, individual atoms break down (as far as we are currently aware) compleatly randomly and with no predictability. However with a large enough sample we can accuratly predict the "half life" of various types of atoms and thus the number of breakdowns expected in a given period of time.

So we have reasonably good models for predicting accidents and thus setting insurance rates etc.

One underlying assumption is that the events are not related to sentient behaviour just random probability.

Where that does not hold for instance in the case of theft there are other assumptions to do with "locality" put simply the assumption is as we are dealing with physical objects the thief can only be in one place at one time and it takes meaningful time for them to move from location to location.

Likewise that objects can be protected with other objects and it requires considerable energy over time to overcome the protecting objects.

I could go on with a very very long list of these assumptions but I will instead simply make the observation that,

Information has no physicality (except in storage and transportation) and is thus intangible. It only has physicality in terms of being impressed on a carrier medium such as magnetic particles or electrons. Thus it is within reason copyable at near zero cost and likewise it's transportation is at near zero cost.

Importantly an information thief is not constrained by location because they generaly steal information by using other information.

With a little thought you can see how our current risk models based on physical assumptions do not of any real necessity apply to information unless we take care to ensure that the constrants on copying and transportation of information are hard physical constraints (hence air gap security).

So we need to adjust our thinking on "risk" to either change the models or ensure that the intangible information realy is constrained within the assumptions underlying the models.

[1] For those who are not up on reliability or more precisely "availability" there are two components that are used in the calculation the first is Mean Time To Fail (MTTF) and the second Mean Time To Repair (MTTR). Both of these are assumed statistical numbers based on either Monte Carlo methods or in the case of MTTF at some distant point in the past actual real live measurments. To get a high availability time you need to maximize MTTF and minimise MTTR and obviously as nothing lasts forever the greatest gain is usually by getting MTTR down as low as possible by various means such as "multiple node redundancy with failover" and "hot swapping". It is minimizing MTTR that Dan Greer favours, however he does not mention the implicit costs which tend to be high and the implementation difficulties which tend to be many or the issues to do with capacity creep over time.

FigureitoutAugust 30, 2012 1:07 PM

@jacob

I have a question (not directed at you). How do we expect to enhance international relations with statements like our intentions "to destroy, deny, degrade, disrupt, deceive, corrupt, or usurp the adversaries [sic] ability to use the cyberspace domain for his advantage."?

All those dirty "D" words, how can we expect trust and cooperation to come from statements like that. Please, all international readers; know that real Americans do not think that way and are being misrepresented.

@Nick P

Nice links as always :) Mr. Tomhave's a good blogger. I really did "lol" when I saw a comment by Clive beginning with "Sorry close but no cigar" and the "BOFH" was funny as well.

I really liked the 3rd link with Mr. Geer. He made some interesting connections (like biological viruses and computer viruses), some of which I've thought of myself and I believe has been talked about here. One of my underlying reasons for standing up for a human's intuition was highlighted in the quote:

"We do have police and teachers and doctors; where there's a need for

    human judgment
and
    human interaction [at human scale]
, we still have that. But the primary cause of all of the downsizing we've had since the mid-1990s is that a lot of human jobs are disappearing into the [digital] economy. Not to reappear.
"

Now the first crazy, almost alarmist thought in my paranoid brain (at least I'm admitting it) is "well, if proles are no longer needed then what is to become of them". We are changing too fast without clearly thinking and people are fearful of "looking old" or "close-minded" if they say otherwise.

His example of automating updates and immunizations/fluoridation of water was nice. Instead of empowering people with knowledge to take care of themselves, we give control away. Diversity was the key, if everyone had different security schemes an attacker would have to pick which ones to learn.

I'm not so sure about the practicality of "harnessing the world's cheap genius" by doing menial tasks similar to decoding CAPTCHA's. How many people are going to go postal doing that for $3/thousand?

My favorite paragraph, which I'm going to repost was:

"Perhaps what is needed is for at least some computers to be more like humans, and I most assuredly do not mean artificially intelligent. By "more like humans" I mean this: Embedded systems, if having no remote management interface and thus out of reach, are a life form and as the purpose of life is to end, an embedded system without a remote management interface must be so designed as to be certain to die no later than some fixed time. Conversely, an embedded system with a remote management interface must be sufficiently self-protecting that it is capable of refusing a command. Inevitable death and purposive resistance are two aspects of the human condition we need to replicate, not somehow imagine that to overcome them is to make an improvement."

After many migraines and fruitless frustrations, I feel comfort in coming to a similar conclusion as someone who should be arrogant but keeps it in check (Clive); in that the basis of true and lasting security is a healthy mindset of "no, I don't do that even if I could"; unless of course humans no longer have control of security...

Clive RobinsonAugust 30, 2012 5:32 PM

@ Figureitout,

"well, if proles are no longer needed then what is to become of them"

Have you ever read H.G.Wells "The Time Machine"?

If so consider the duality of the relationship between the Eloi and Morlocks as portrayed as the story unfolds.

Oh and then consider who you'ld except "an invitation to dinner" from...


With regards Dan Greer's comments on embedded systems, it's a subject I've given considerable thought to over the years especialy as we are all living at the begining of a new age in medicine of "Implantable Electronic Devices" such as pace makers etc. You will realise that you don't want your embedded electronics dying on you as it will kill you, and you will also realise that you do want a control interface on them that is both universal and secure. Because you will change over time and you don't want to have your chest cracked open on an operating table each time an adjustment is required and further you will realise that at times there will be emergancies in which your life will be dependent on trained medical personnel being able to quickly access the device but also you don't want a "drive by serial killer" making your heart "brake dance to death" and you with it.

It then takes little thought you want the same requirments out of your smart meter, and in turn all embedded devices.

Death may be natures way of dealing with a ware and tare issue, but in human terms each death always has conciquences for those around the newly deceased be they family, friends or colleagues. Likewise the failure of an embedded device that is part of a complex technical ecostructure will cause significant problems.

Mankinds major preocupation is with longevity we may realise that imortality has disadvantages but we would all like to live an extra twenty or thirty years as young healthy adults. Further mankind has an issue, it takes so long these days to learn what is required to become a mature adult that we have to little time left to be able to use the hard won knowledge. This is increasingly true of basic research on which technology eventualy becomes dependent on.

To nature intelligence and what it can do is an aberration, to an intelligent life form ill health, infirmity and death are aberrations that need to be corrected or eliminated.

I may not want the potential "prison sentance" of immortality, but I have no desire to die of "natural causes" before I have stopped living what I hope is a long productive life, the productivity of which benifits others.

Which raises a question if a persons life is both enjoyable and productive, would immortality actually be disadvantageous to them or others?

And if the answer is no the question about technology then arises, if it is both productive and efficient does it need to cease functioning?

Another more critical viewpoint of Dan Greer's 'natural death" is "euthanasia" in effect his argument is "kill the defectives before they do harm". But then you have to decide what is harm...

From the technical view point we already know that "planned obsolescence" has associated harms, not least that it is used as a profit raising tool by manufacturing companies. And we also accept that it is also enviromentaly unhelpful at best and significantly detrimental. This is because with a very significant majority of products their manufacture is the greatest source of energy input and thus green house gasses etc of the products life. Simply extending the lisfe of the majority of products spreaddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

Clive RobinsonAugust 30, 2012 7:25 PM

A curse, a curse and a pox on the house of those that designed this smart phone :-(

Sorry the phone did it's occasional "walk in the park" on me, hurumph hurumph...

So to correct and finish...

Simply extending the life of the majority of products spreads the initial energy input over a longer period of time and this is highly desirable for a number of reasons. Not least because some estimates put our current energy consumption at 1.4 times Solar illumination energy and that can only have one very undesirable end in the long term... Recycling initiatives like the EU WEEE might be great on paper and in reducing the amount of certain quite harmfull contaninates in the environment. But it has a hidden energy cost, recycling can in quite a few cases have a higher total energy input due to transportation, seperation, grading and preprocessing than actually manufacturing from raw materials and in the process it has created a "faux market" just like "carbon trading".

So why would Dan Geer sugest the pland death idea?

Well it's to try to get around another issue that is the failing of security much of which occurs due to what we ascribe with hindsight as "human error" and is actually due to other factors one of which is "imperfect knowledge". But mainly due to the race for the bottom caused by "Free Market" mantra and how people interpret it.

Put simply companies design products to sell at a profit. We know that in a Free Market competition is rife and this causes two things to happen, one for supply to exceed demand at the opening price, two for the price to drop accordingly. This price drop can only be accomadated in three ways, more efficient production, reduced profit or change the product. There is only so much you can do with efficiency before you smack hard into the wall of exponentialy diminishing returns. A reduction in profit engenders a "cut throat market" which eventually results in a "blood bath" and the death of the market. This leaves changing the product.

Now there are two basic ways you can change a product degrade it or enhance it. Degrading is usually either use less expensive and usually low quality components or remove functionality. Enhancing a product usually involves adding features not quality (see the Ford Edsal as an example of this).

Now adding features has a downside because it quickly turns into a "begger thy neighbour" approach where features get added irrespective of if the market wants them or not. And thus it becomes a game of "feel the quantity not the quality" "hamsterwheel of pain" for the designers and developers. New features get added at a rate faster than they can be properly tested, usually this does not matter as the market does not want them and therefore does not use them, therefor in most cases the lack of testing does not show up in "bug reports".

Untill that is the bugs get used as an attack vector... then much time is wasted on re-examining the issue to try and fix it without causing knock on effects else where.

And the result is often incompatible versions of products making further changes to correct other bugs even more time consuming.

The software manufacturing solution has been to force change down consumers throats with auto patching and upgrades. Aside from the issue of DRM etc the upgrade process can as has been demonstrated be subverted due to the many flaws in "code signing" many of which came about due to it's organic rather than planed growth.

My viewpoint has for some time been to resolve these issues in embedded systems by proper "framework standards" where "Free market" "race for the bottom" behaviour is prevented by mandating certain minimum criteria.

Clive RobinsonAugust 31, 2012 7:36 AM

OFF Topic:

As many will have heard Apple won in a US court.

But they have just lost in a Japanese court,

http://m.ibnlive.com/news/...

The question is now what will the court decide what Apple will both have to pay and also forfit in terms of what is for them an important and lucrative market.

FigureitoutSeptember 1, 2012 3:59 PM

@Clive

Never read it, but sounds interesting and may put it in the "to read" queue. I can see his characterization.

Re: IED's

True, perhaps extend the "death time" to 150 years, or maybe around 200 years. Or biological research leads to biological solutions, not technological ones. Maybe the "electronic heart" is made ultra reliable and a control component is layed outside the chest cavity. Maybe have the "test hook" come out of the skin around the wrist and remove wireless capability to lower probability of "drive by" remote attack. I watched the history of computing documentary (loved it) and it touched on some of my thoughts, concerns, and ideas; and I knew someone had already thought of what I was thinking (especially some of my hypnosis techniques). But, the last one (of a 5 pt. series) got into electronic medical devices. The Therac 25 accidents should make all perk up. A software bug, which is safe to say we will be dealing with for quite some time, caused it to deliver between 15,000-20,000 rads of radiation instead of 20 to a patient, causing burns and inability to use her left arm and shoulder. To give a sense of the problem, 1000 rads delivered to the whole body can be fatal.

Re: Not enough time to learn, prison sentence, immortality

I know, it has changed so much just within 5 years; plus the competition is unlike no other time. It is why I wish I was born around 1950 and could have known a time before computers owned humanity, and learn the basics step by step as they came out; now to innovate requires learning all those basics and then still further press on where others have fallen.

As much I think life is beyond comprehension and great, certain people stuck with certain minds that at times afflict certain people with debilitating anxiety may think it's torture.

You bring up some serious judgment calls. Some people probably really think that playing video games online for a living is a "productive" use of human talent, computation, and electric power. But the 1st answer is "yes" as can be seen all around the earth from an environmental standpoint. Even though, I could see the other side, in that everything is "natural", even human manipulation of climate, plastic, GMO food; if these things exist they must be natural. In a twist, it just may be that by spreading life, life kills itself; it being the natural way.

Re: planned obsolescence

I have one thing to say about this. My grandmother has a metal rake from the 1920's, it still works perfectly. I bought a rake from one of the hardware monopolies, the POS broke in two after 1 year! Now either we have gone backwards and have lost the "technological knowledge" of how to make a rake that doesn't break, or "too big to manage" companies spit out cheap product that breaks and then more cheap product must be bought because they have a monopoly.

Re: recycling

Yes, it is troubling...the energy consumption. As well as recycling, reusing something is more green, and reducing consumption in the first place is the best.

I again think of people like my last living grandmother. She is the greenest person I know, she wastes absolutely nothing! She's a product of the Great Depression, and what she's given must exceed what she's taken in terms of energy; me on the other hand...

Re: Free market, race for bottom

This is one area that Europeans have gotten right. Quality over quantity is the mantra. Cars, appliances, roads (though cobblestones aren't the best thing to drive over), food portions, and waist sizes; it's all smaller and typically of higher quality. What happened to me was that I got used to that reduction, and eventually couldn't imagine needing more. When I came back to the US, the biggest thing I noticed was all the food tasted like cardboard. But I'm used to that taste again.

If people don't demand quality products or services, as well as secure ones; well what can one do? I can't even get excited about buying a new car fitted with bluetooth or a computer riddled with vulnerabilities beyond a realistic capacity for one person to fix. I just stop using them as much as I can. It makes simple circuits that I can manipulate with my bare eyes and a soldering iron all the more comforting...

Regardless of the neverending bs, good to hear from you and your "smart" phone. You probably wouldn't mind a "planned death" for that, eh? :)

Nick PSeptember 2, 2012 1:11 PM

@ Figureitout post 1

"We are changing too fast without clearly thinking and people are fearful of "looking old" or "close-minded" if they say otherwise."

Seems so. An even bigger problem maybe the herd mentality. Geer seems to not like software companies treating people like mindless herds with the likes of software update. Yet, watching election cycles or reaction to latest scare story, the majority does act like a herd. The stuff they say might sound intelligent, but what they do is follow in the direction of a/the crowd.

So, on one hand, you have static types resisting the changes just because ("all that computer stuff ain't for me"). Then, you have the people who jump into things without considering the consequences (GM crops, nanotech, & maybe LHC are examples). Yet, then you have people who are following a leader & many leaders will be ignorant or malicious. Each of these groups poses problems for people trying to solve INFOSEC issues with people in the loop.

"Diversity was the key, if everyone had different security schemes an attacker would have to pick which ones to learn."

Agreed. I'm a fan of diversity. One of my earliest solutions to all these network worms was to pick two of each critical thing, then automate maintenance & switch over. An example would be to have a site set up for both Apache & NGINX. You can run one exclusively for easy management, then switch automatically upon hearing a flaw in it. You might also run a mixed environment to reduce odds of total failure or breach. You can do the same with OS's too, like CentOS side-by-side with FreeBSD.

One old trick of mine was to use PowerPC, SPARK or Alpha, then remove references to that. You have bunches of "exploitable" software, the attackers are seeing the versions, and yet the attacks... just... cant... get... through. They probably thought some guru (not yet) was defending the box night and day. No extra work required on my part except occasional recompilations. This trick used to work with Mac+PowerPC+Firefox/NoScript. Eventually, much of that stuff got EOL'ed & platform-specific stuff bogged down even "cross-platform" stuff. Still opportunities to do this in servers with IBM POWER & Sun SPARC, embedded with numerous full-featured boards.

A trick to diversity, though. Sure you can diversify instruction sets, hardware configuration, OS, middleware, applications, binaries, etc. Yet, the thing that will get many people is protocols. The protocols are typically harder to do right & more difficult to update. Some researchers have made what are essentially protocol virtual machines whereby two computers exchange info on an arbitrary protocol & use it to communicate. All of it leads to a concept Geer touches on: it must all be designed to easily throw away & replace, b/c we will have to. Each level must be modular with a clean interface & ideally behavioral spec. Must be able to make arbitrary changes internally w/out breaking interfacing apps.

"I'm not so sure about the practicality of "harnessing the world's cheap genius" by doing menial tasks similar to decoding CAPTCHA's. How many people are going to go postal doing that for $3/thousand?"

Menial != only CAPTCHA's & cheap might be > $3. I think his point is there's plenty of positions needing the security expertise, which is normally quite expensive. There's plenty of geniuses needing a job. I guess we'd give droves of them access to the information they need & the companies would have plenty of people to fill these positions. One model that I see stateside is paying for the training in return for the individual signing a 2-3 year contract to work for the company. So, you get training, experience, a starting salary & maybe a better job down the line. The company gets a cheap specialist who can do the "less than awesome" job of making security-critical decisions or whatnot.

" in that the basis of true and lasting security is a healthy mindset of "no, I don't do that even if I could""

Good thinking. I have a prime example: web servers embedded in routers & security critical appliances. You might start with a good OS, configuration, application code, etc. The attackers options are constrained. Then, throw a web server & browser into the mix. Necessary for convenience? Not really. It could be replaced with an agent on the server, a simple standalone on the admin's client, an easily parsed config file they both used, execute only signed command security model, & all written in type-safe languages that minimize vulnerability. (Fail-safe exception handling, too. Just log what you can, crash hard, & restart clean.)

Another example of this was Windows NT Server. When it came out, I remember thinking "a GUI on top of a server, rather than along side it on a client, will only lead to more compromises & unforseen information leaks." [Many compromises & information leaks follow...] Who'd have thought? ;) Had they had your "just say no" mindset, they might have avoided these bad design choices knowing the problems that lie ahead.

And years later I see "subversion-resistant" tools for anonymity & confidentiality being built on the Java platform. (sighs)

@ figureitout post 2

"A software bug, which is safe to say we will be dealing with for quite some time, caused it to deliver between 15,000-20,000 rads of radiation instead of 20 to a patient, causing burns and inability to use her left arm and shoulder. To give a sense of the problem, 1000 rads delivered to the whole body can be fatal."

That still happens today. I don't have the article at my fingertips right now. It might have been on deadly software errors in general. The author mentioned numerous cases of modern radiation machines making the beam to wide, aiming it at the wrong spot, or using the wrong intensity. Seeing how safety-critical it is & knowing of THERAC, many would think they'd have plugged the critical flaws. Not yet. Initiatives like DO-178B can help if they're mandated for stuff like this. Sure it will cost more, but US medicine is outrageously priced anyway. ;)

"I have one thing to say about this. My grandmother has a metal rake from the 1920's, it still works perfectly. I bought a rake from one of the hardware monopolies, the POS broke in two after 1 year!"

http://www.utne.com/Environment/...

"This is one area that Europeans have gotten right. Quality over quantity is the mantra. Cars, appliances, roads (though cobblestones aren't the best thing to drive over), food portions, and waist sizes; it's all smaller and typically of higher quality. What happened to me was that I got used to that reduction, and eventually couldn't imagine needing more. "

*Those* examples seem to support your point about Europeans doing things "right." ;) The more interesting thing is how you got used to it. People in USA resist much b/c they'd hate it, but they'd get used to it. Many old timers think the older cars are beautiful & the best way to build cars. That's only barely true when you look at the data & all the requirements/goals for modern vehicles. Yet, they got used to the newer stuff or just kept the old stuff running. Should apply that same principle for discontinuity in IT.

"If people don't demand quality products or services, as well as secure ones; well what can one do?"

That's the crux of the problem. I discussed at this when I argued against Bruce that user's are ultimately responsible for all of these decisions b/c they voted security out with their wallet. The horrifying inevitability & sheer momentum of the current status quo has made me consider leaving INFOSEC throughout the past year. Not decided yet. Here was the comment though

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2011/06/...

"It makes simple circuits that I can manipulate with my bare eyes and a soldering iron all the more comforting..."

You can't say I never gave you anything:

http://www.homebrewcpu.com/

Nick PSeptember 2, 2012 1:19 PM

@ Clive Robinson

"Because you will change over time and you don't want to have your chest cracked open on an operating table each time an adjustment is required and further you will realise that at times there will be emergancies in which your life will be dependent on trained medical personnel being able to quickly access the device but also you don't want a "drive by serial killer" making your heart "brake dance to death" and you with it."

Lol @ drive by serial killer. I've imagined that possibility too & I think it's inevitable w/ all the mental disorders in the hacking & biotech fields. I don't think "you want same requirements out of your smart meter or embedded devices" follows though. The key issue is consequences. Medical implant fails, we die. Smart meter fails, we loose power till they fix it (maybe same day). MP3 player fails, we're annoyed till we buy our next one. The manufacturers know this & any liability-centric courts will too, so what's put into assurance will justifiably be different for many embedded devices.

"Death may be natures way of dealing with a ware and tare issue, but in human terms each death always has conciquences for those around the newly deceased be they family, friends or colleagues. Likewise the failure of an embedded device that is part of a complex technical ecostructure will cause significant problems."

Good point. He might be underestimating that effect. However, in well-designed systems, individual components are expected to fail & be replaced. So, the "death" concept would be less dramatic effect & more "perform these maintenance actions during this time range." Until one of those components is HAL & Dave decides to "kill" him.

"Further mankind has an issue, it takes so long these days to learn what is required to become a mature adult that we have to little time left to be able to use the hard won knowledge."

A little outside of the compsec topic, but too true. There was a Robert Ludlum book whose ultimate plot (spoiler!) centered on powerful people extending their lives using biotech & cells extracted from lesser folks. Defending their actions, the leader gave a long (nice) speech about how people take decades to become masters in a field. Yet, after so much time growing up & growing in knowledge, they might not even have that much time to productively apply their hard-won expertise. They die off. The antagonist considered this to be a great waste & the "sacrifices" they were making to extend the lives of these masterful people were justified. It was an interesting book & more interesting ethical delimma.

"From the technical view point we already know that "planned obsolescence" has associated harms, not least that it is used as a profit raising tool by manufacturing companies. And we also accept that it is also enviromentaly unhelpful at best and significantly detrimental. "

Best point you've made. The key reason we have legacy issues is companies keep things around to max out ROI. Then, you have the physical and environmental cost of replacing computers. Recycling isn't' happening nearly enough in that area, there's very little that's "green," & the Western disposable culture has wasted enough material already. I think getting hardware right & focusing on firmware/software discontinuity is the least costly of discontinuity approaches. We want updates, not recalls. ;)

"My viewpoint has for some time been to resolve these issues in embedded systems by proper "framework standards" where "Free market" "race for the bottom" behaviour is prevented by mandating certain minimum criteria."

Nice summary. That seems to be a good start. I mentioned to Figureitout that standards like DO-178B are improving quality of safety-critical stuff. A minimum should focus on the process itself & a sampling of its results. Low hanging fruit should be eliminated. Other stuff made more difficult within reason & recovery made easier. This is a doable start. Demand for this stuff will create many high quality reusable components & drive their prices down. Again, DO-178B proves this out, although it's a pretty heavy standard.

FigureitoutSeptember 4, 2012 8:25 AM

@Nick P

Thx for the feedback (and the unbelievable links, I can't return the favor); I try to take advantage of my access to certain people :) Because of my "Generalist" nature and my desire to "keep the frequencies clear" for others to chime in, I won't give my full response (I never do).

Re: Herd mentality

I feel elitist talking about my fellow man as an "animal" to be "herded" and "led"; however an imbalance in intelligence will lead to such observations...

I agree with your 3 examples, in case people have been living in a cave, never forget the power of "3". It's a magical number (Tesla supposedly had an obsession with it) and by only giving 1 or 2 examples, you look insufficient; but giving 6+ examples, most people won't remember what you told them. Classic psychology aka social engineering, look it up and test it for yourself.

Re: Diversity

I have a very unique security strategy, undoubtedly some have stumbled upon it and become very bored or disappointed :) I like your point of enhancing one's career, but I am very skeptical of it being organized and carried-out.

Re: My "just say no" mindset

My mind (which has a mind of its own:) thinks I'm clear but I know I'm difficult to understand after reading what I type, don't confuse what I have to say as this sounds more like the DARE drug war propaganda :) My "just say no" mindset has to do strictly with situations that face humans, not servers and anonymous tools built on java. I have much work to do on my set-up, but believe me when I say my current defenses have a purpose. I am also a strong believer in not only the "paper paper never data" strategy, but an even more paranoid "brain brain never paper" one; it is where I keep my freelance psychological research and I plan on taking it to my grave to prevent copying and abuse of it.

Re: Therac

That still happens today
--Nothing wrong with a little more paranoia crammed into gray-matter :) I am wondering why the FAA would have jurisdiction is this matter, besides the TSA radiation machines :/
I don't have the article at my fingertips right now
--So you are human, (phew had me wondering there:)

Re: utne.com link

I could rage on forever with cheapness, I have wasted too much time and money on it; and still have more to fix. With computers this is different though, b/c of Moore's law (which I don't really understand how it keeps working). I contradicted myself a little with "death of machines" and "long-term quality of products". It is hard to compare a modern computer with an everyday consumer product. You know where I'm going so I won't expand.

Re: Europe FTW

Of course, my own perspective is limited and my definition of "right" is debatable. I don't want to start a "flame/troll" war so I stay general and agreeable. I grew fond of European lifestyles and could relate with average people better than I could in US. I dream of being able to live (not just visit) in all 7 continents, because of the expansion of my worldview by living in a foreign place. As of now, the Roman ruins in Rome are my favorite, as they are extremely unsecured, which in turn fuels my imagination of what the past was like.

Cars look more like "bubbles" more than ever, perhaps when they crash force moves "up and outward". I also like driving behind a machine that doesn't make me cough my guts out.

Re: crux of the problem

You know just as well as anyone that it is likely a crux of a leg within a leg within a leg of the problem. Do you not see leadership (of the herd) as a possible solution here? The kind of leadership I'm talking about would be extremely special, as it would have to gain the trust of security "practitioners". Security, discipline, and protocols are hard enough as it is, but trying to secure an intangible thing like "information", I don't blame you. I think I've already expressed my viewpoint of the status quo...

Re: schneier archives

Nice dialogue, I skimmed and shall return. You touched on some of my social engineering techniques (that is mostly all I have to offer now). I know others know of them and use them (it's fun seeing them used on myself), but I know that true masters of them aren't very common. I barely know you, but getting Clive to talk about rap and "young jeezy" and "singing"; priceless :)

Re: Homebrew cpu

When did I ever...you know I really don't like being the one receiving more than I give...you may receive one in the mail :)

jacobSeptember 4, 2012 8:51 AM

@clive. yup, I should stop reading some sites too. It is frustrating to read stuff, and then go, really? There are many things that we should be doing and not even really trying. Instead, we get TSA checking drinks you BUY in the airport and rolling checkpoints. While a guy yells allah ahkbar and shoots ups up a military base and is in contact with, well you know. It's just workplace violence, while an obvious nut shoots up a theator, it's domestic terrorist violence...

@figureitout. You misunderstand me. I am not nor do I advocate the crap going on in the name of security (theator). Or at least most of it. I have said as loudly as I can that "cyberwarfare" is going to have unintended consequences. There is a lot going on and most of it behind the scenes.

They (some security types and hackers) want us to believe they are the knights in shining armour. The reality is they are morons dressed in tinfoil..This applies to far too many people.

FigureitoutSeptember 5, 2012 12:12 PM

@jacob

Wasn't attacking you, just the article. :)

Agreed with your statements. The problem is you won't get any business in the security field (or any other) if you don't display some confidence. When I took "career classes" and was practicing interviewing, I'd always focus on my weaknesses because I'd want an employer to know what they're getting; and was repeatedly told, "Stop doing that!".

jacobSeptember 5, 2012 1:28 PM

@figureitout.

I know, I was trying to make it clear for any others that might have thought I was endorsing such things. Not everyone who reads the blog know who the characters are.... ;)

You are right. All too often in the security industry the "confidence" in a solution and persuation is what sells it. Snakeoil as Bruce calls it.

Pertaining to you and interviews. Try casting weaknesses as a strength? Think about it.

I am sceptical about a lot of security practices. Red light cameras come to mind as revenue generating machines for municipalities. Sell this firewall application rather than security practices, training, and an honest evaluation of what is important data or exposure,,you and I know which will sell easier..

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