More Plant Security Countermeasures

I’ve talked about plant security systems, both here and in Beyond Fear. Specifically, I’ve talked about tobacco plants that call air strikes against insects that eat them, by releasing a scent that attracts predators to those insects. Here’s another defense: the plants also tag caterpillars for predators by feeding them a sweet snack (full episode here) that makes them give off a strong scent.

Posted on April 24, 2013 at 6:51 AM8 Comments


Anon April 24, 2013 8:56 AM

Ha Ha .. When I saw the title I thought industrial not botanical.. Very clever Mr Schneier..

Brett April 24, 2013 9:06 AM

I’m going to have to watch this when I get home from work – blocked but our company has its own channel now – go figure.

But it makes me think that maybe plants are higher food chain that it seems. It is always the quite ones……

Clive Robinson April 24, 2013 9:37 AM

Many many years ago back in the early 1970’s I remember reading a short thriller (could have been an Ellery Queen).

Basicaly the plot was to remove a forign player from the game. But this person was ultra cautious and had guard dogs etc.

So what they did was tamper with his food whilst he was away from home. This subtaly changed his body odor such that on getting home his guard dogs ripped him apart…

Buck April 24, 2013 12:26 PM

What’s the likelihood that many ISP’s are intercepting SSL traffic. I just tried to “fingerprint” my own provider’s website and it shut down my browser, several times, right before the fingerprint technology site said that something weird was going on as it couldn’t get a fingerprint. Perhaps it explains some strange goings on in my log files? Perhaps not but this techology is fascinating. What’s the chance that an ISP could inadvertently be allowing security indicents to happen all in the name of the villain made famous by George Orwell, Nosy Parker.

Buck April 24, 2013 12:37 PM

By the way, the reference to the infamous villain known in England as Nosy Parker, now being made a hero in America, is in Orwell’s famous essays on England, “The Lion and the Unicorn”: specifically in Nosy’s case,” Part ! England your England”

” The most hateful of all names in an English ear is Nosey Parker. It is obvious, of course, that even this purely private liberty is a lost cause. Like all other modern people, the English are in process of being numbered, labelled, conscripted, ‘co-ordinated’. But the pull of their impulses is in the other direction, and the kind of regimentation that can be imposed on them will be modified in consequence. No party rallies, no Youth Movements, no coloured shirts, no Jew-baiting or ‘spontaneous’ demonstrations. No Gestapo either, in all probability.”

Perhaps not so much here, and perhaps England is now too a lost cause too. The Gestapo seems to have won over the long term. Phil Och’s song “Remember Me” comes to mind. Perhaps it’s time to fight again, only this time we might not be on the “good” side of that fight.

Her’s the link to the whole essay, an interesting social observation about England by the author of the entity presented now to shock and awe you, and right before your eyes, here it is, come to life, Nineteen Eighty Four.

Buck April 24, 2013 4:56 PM

Yeah, when things start getting smelly, it does tend to get noticed. And in this discussion, these guys are talking about a very smelly use of various coding technologies that are really probably possibly improbably but unlikely in all likelihood, smelling things up quite a bit. Not the bitcoin thing, that’s smelly in a good way, the other things they mention, now that’s smelly.

Dirk Praet April 24, 2013 6:43 PM

the plants also tag caterpillars for predators by feeding them a sweet snack

Sounds horribly similar to certain companies giving away free internet services (mail, storage, social networking …) so they can sell the victim’s data to governments and corporations. Enter a movie plot in which Mark Zuckerberg and Eric Schmidt are revealed to be highly evolved plants instead of humans, and you have a blockbuster baseline for “The Revenge of the Triffids”.

Batard April 25, 2013 11:41 AM

Why does this story remind me of a children’s book that the fundamentalists tried to ban in some school libraries around here, the book titled “The Dirty Cowboy”. Seems the dirty cowboy took a bath and hid dog didn’t recognize him and wouldn’t allow him to go near his clothes, the dog waiting for his smelly master to come back for his clothes. .There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

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