Friday Squid Blogging: Squid Pronouns

The translated version of a Spanish menu contains the entry “squids in his (her, your) ink.”

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 May 31, 2013 at 4:39 PM34 Comments


Petréa Mitchell May 31, 2013 10:56 PM

The latest attempts to get medical professionals to wash their hands include automatic cameras, vibrating RFID badges, and cash bonuses. And apparently for some people it’s not a matter of forgetfulness or being pressed for time:

Dr. Larson, the hand-washing expert, supports the electronic systems being developed, but says none are perfect yet. “People learn to game the system,” she said. “There was one system where the monitoring was waist high, and they learned to crawl under that. Or there are people who will swipe their badges and turn on the water, but not wash their hands. It’s just amazing.”

I for one would love to see some research into why there are people working at hospitals who would make an effort to actively avoid washing their hands.

Luis June 1, 2013 2:13 AM

Its something that we cook in Spain. The correct translation would be “squids in their own ink” (calamares en su tinta).

Clive Robinson June 1, 2013 4:33 AM

@ Petréa Mitchell,

    I for one would love to see some research into why there are people working at hospitals who would make an effort to actively avoid washing their hands

There are a number of “medical reasons”, one of which is avoiding developing alergies, but in the main I suspect it’s resentment / kick back as well as significant inconveniance.

The aim of washing hands is to reduce “contact transfer” and is in effect pointless if you are carrying something in your hands. That is you have already contaminated the object befor you get to the hand washing station, you put the object down (if there is any where) wash your hands then pick the object back up again, which means with a fairly high probability you will re contaminate yourself in fairly short order… Likewise putting your hand in your pocket or scratching or rubbing an area that itches, yawning coughing sneezing, or any one of a hundred or so things we do sub-conciously in our everyday lives. Thus most objects in the patient area are already contaminated by the patients themselves, their visitors and hospital staff especialy the cleaners.

It is this last aspect that gets under the skin of most health care proffesionals but for some reason not the been counters who run the hospitals. Thorough cleaning is very expensive even when using the lowest cost labour and it’s often subbed out to contractors. If you have the misfortune to be in hospital and you observe carefully you will see that the cleaners use dusters and other cleaning aids that they have used in previous bays, wards, toilets etc. That is they are objects which are made for “surface contamination” as part of their ordinary use, that are thus highly likely to be contaminated. They should be discarded and replaced after use in each area but that is a lot of extra unproductive work, waste and thus cost, all of which eats into these subcontractor proffits so the same duster could do a major ward area of ten patient bays holding 4-6 patients each, with infection controled side rooms etc. And the advantage of cheep labour is it’s also generaly easy to blaim and dispose of especialy if it should not be working in the first place…

In the UK a while ago a hospital was virtually closed because the UK imigration police raided it and detained a very significant portion of the subcontractor staff and arrested their site based managers,

The raid was supposadly triggered by undercover journalists working for a national television channel (Channel 4) and most national newspapers running pieces on it all of which created ‘a bit of a stir’ at the time. Which appears to be continuing in that the legal fallout still continues on, with the entities involved suing and couter suing each other and the authorities.

Clive Robinson June 1, 2013 4:55 AM

ON Topic 🙂

What amuses me is the way children like the word squid (it’s easy to say when your front baby teeth have dropped out) and it often makes them giggle, and how this has been moved into nonsense words such as “squidlydidily” and in the UK into silly sayings such as “squids in” and jokes such as,

Did you hear about the sick squid that went to the doctor but left because he was told he would have to pay for the medicine and it would cost ‘sick squid’ [1].

There are also a plethora of lymericks and toung twisters and spoonerisms that also use squid.

[1] Firstly I make no appology for such a bad joke, secondly for those not from the UK who do not see why it’s funny, you need to know two things. Firstly the UK currancy is the Pound but it is also has a number of well known slang names one of which is the “Quid”. Secondly in England and Wales we pay a fixed amount for each medication called the “prescription charge” at the time the joke went around the charge had just been raised to six pounds.

jdl June 1, 2013 10:24 AM

Has anyone here looked at Bromium vSentry closely?

I’ve seen a couple stories on it lately and when I watched their demo video and searched around about it a bit, I couldn’t tell if it did anything or worked.

Petréa Mitchell June 1, 2013 11:05 AM

Clive Robinson:

There are a number of “medical reasons”, one of which is avoiding developing alergies, but in the main I suspect it’s resentment / kick back as well as significant inconveniance.”

I’m perfectly willing to believe that, but we have at least one situation described in that paragraph where there appears to be more inconvenience involved in not washing hands than in washing them. This means there are medical workers who somehow sustain a belief that washing their hands would be such a bad thing that they need to put in the effort to make sure they don’t do it. This is something which desperately needs to be investigated.

Spaceman Spiff June 1, 2013 2:07 PM

Squid, or octopus, this is a traditional food of the peoples of Latin America who reside on/near the ocean. In Mexico, it is called “pulpo en su tinto” – or octopus in its ink – one of my sister’s favorite dishes (she live in Veracruz Mexico). Very tasty, though as a (mostly) vegetarian, I don’t eat it very often.

bruceb June 1, 2013 3:02 PM

@Clive – I read somewhere recently the suggestion that brass door handles be reintroduced into hospitals. The copper content being an antibiotic, they should help reduce transmission of infection.

Such a simple thing – it will never happen.

NobodySpecial June 1, 2013 10:50 PM

@bruceb – better is no door handles. People in organic chemistry labs get into the habit of avoiding touching door handles/light switches etc

Dirk Praet June 2, 2013 7:38 PM

Anyone familiar with or using DNSCrypt ?

From their page: In the same way the SSL turns HTTP web traffic into HTTPS encrypted Web traffic, DNSCrypt turns regular DNS traffic into encrypted DNS traffic that is secure from eavesdropping and man-in-the-middle attacks. It doesn’t require any changes to domain names or how they work, it simply provides a method for securely encrypting communication between our customers and our DNS servers in our data centers …
DNSCrypt has the potential to be the most impactful advancement in Internet security since SSL, significantly improving every single Internet user’s online security and privacy.

Figureitout June 2, 2013 9:04 PM

–Like NobodySpecial said, hospitals like touchless sensors which is good for my family.
@Petréa Mitchell
–With a hospital being a public place where anyone can just walk in, perhaps they should require all guests to at the very least put on covers over their shoes. I unfortunately just had to visit a hospital and yes I could easily just walk into ER (granted it was a relatively small hospital). If there’s no malicious intent like we’ve seen with some nightmare cases, and the staff aren’t dealing w/ open wounds, then it’s less serious; however immune systems are in a state of weakness…

Figureitout June 2, 2013 9:12 PM

BTW, anyone w/ an interest in all things tech., check out a hospital if you get a chance; just loads of very neat stuff.

Figureitout June 3, 2013 1:36 AM

Saw on Wired, I thought scanning tunneling microscopy was cool; but chemistry researchers have seemingly made quite a breakthrough. Perhaps we may be able to peer into the crystal matrices in chips? I want to physically see a pn junction.

Peter June 3, 2013 4:25 AM

@Petréa Mitchell, washing your hands frequently dries them out and can cause skin problems.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons June 3, 2013 6:32 AM

Cyber and electronic warfare will invariable make casualties of all manner of systems, organizations, and no doubt innocent civilians and citizens. The shear contempt that is represented by a government where automated systems can be used to exercise the powers of government reaches a new level–but the crime is the government will knowingly do harm. In fact, they’ll hire contractors that cannot be sued and the contractors cannot be subpoena or served with warrants–so much for redress of grievances.

This harm will be in various and unpleasant forms. I know this from personal experience. When government automates the delivery of “injustice” the consideration that we live under an unlawful system is more than obvious.My small business is already retooling based on the coming confusion. Now codified in law, HR 624 the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA V.2), the relationship between government and entities is a wholly dangerous and completely antoecdedant to our republican democracy.

Government, not answerable to the people for actions taken in their name–and–private entities immunised from disclosure or discovery. The insult here, the feds makes safe (for some) what could only be accomplised by a constitutional amendment. The fact that the bill is an amendment to the highly controversial Nation Security Act of 1947 should make everyone nervous.

Here is an allegory using the legal framework applied to the automotive industry:

1.) Government and Ford share a particular cyber security incident, it is codified as a state secret, and the two parties collude to not inform General Motors about the findings.
2.) Tesla motors trying to comply with the new mandates (is unable to certify its assembly line workers with security clearances) and not be a significant enough player to afford or be recognized as a protected or self protected entity.
3.) Ford purchases a majority share interest in SAIC and Harris Corp., investment analysts see this move as a way to improve Ford’s corporate communications.
4.) Tesla begins having problems with various devices and hardware on their assembly line
5.) Ford announces new products from their recent purchase in SAIC and Harris (the firmware for the new hardware has been in the works for five years).
6.) Tesla, after two years, successfully achieves a “certified entity” status
7.) Two months pass, SAIC is awarded a broad government contract to be a Cyber Security Provider.
8.) Tesla cyber security services are provided by the new SAIC contract…
9.) Ford executes and internal plan to disrupt the operations of Tesla
10.) Six months Tesla is totally decimated by a series of security problems (production equipment doesn’t work, capital accounts liquidated in what appears to be some fraud, the FTC and SEC have Tesla under investigation, nearly 50% of Tesla’s work force has been harassed or arrested. Tesla’s shares become junk–
11.) Ford offers to purchase Tesla for $10.00

Figureitout June 3, 2013 11:23 AM

Near plane-drone accident that would not only kill the passengers but rain scrap and jet engines on the people below.

folbec June 5, 2013 1:29 PM

via hacker news :

A Long Beach, Calif., surveillance video shows a thief approaching a locked SUV in a driveway. Police say he’s carrying a small device in the palm of his hand. You can barely see it, but he aims it at the car and pops the locks electronically. He’s in, with access to everything. No commotion at all.

Then his accomplice shows up and hits another car, using that same handheld device.

Dirk Praet June 5, 2013 6:41 PM

Debated on this blog only recently, and what most of us suspected is indeed happening: the NSA is collecting phone records of millions of Americans daily, and under a top secret court order issued in April.

The secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the order to the FBI on April 25, giving the government unlimited authority to obtain the data for a specified three-month period ending on July 19.

Clive Robinson June 6, 2013 5:09 AM

@ Dirk Praet,

It looks like “great minds think alike” only I posted the Grauniad link on the Calea II blog page 🙂

(Oh and also a refrence to Private Eye looking at Google’s incestuous relationship with both UK major political parties and how they have in effect avoided paying UK tax).

The Grauniad article shows that what a couple of Democrat’s have been saying for some time is true and just how the Obama “control freak” administration are in many ways actually worse than the preceading GWBush administration (“who’d ‘ave thunk” anyone would say that 😉

The question arises as to what this information is to be used for.

One scary part is that the notion of “metadata” includes all cell tower and GPS positional information that courts have already indicated is in effect illegal (strike down of the use of GPS trackers).

Further it was a joint application to the court of the FBI and NSA which kind of belies the “going dark” stance of the FBI.

One asspect few think of when looking at this is the implicit assumption that “Phone Location = Person Location” which it most definatly does not.

Further is the notion of “biometrics” we recently had the SupCourt allowing indiscriminate collection of DNA, how long befor you childs fingerprints stored in the “lunch payment” system of their school likewise gets called “metadata”. As some may remember some people tried to introduce such “finger print payment” systems into payment cards and the like, it would be easy to see how any Biometric System would get treated as “metadata” under these overly broad interpretations…

And as such you could then regard the “voice print” of the people using the phone as “metadata” provided some superficial system was used to supposadly anonyomise the spoken content…

As I’ve indicated in the past with the abborted attempt at a UK National Identity Card, how long will it be before not carrying some kind of Near Field Communications identity system with full Biometrics, become in effect illegal so that the state can use it to fine or otherwise punish you so that your every movment is recorded as “metadata” on your very existance…

As was once said (By I.Azimov) “Welcome to the goldfish bowl…”

Nick P June 6, 2013 11:51 AM

Brian Krebs recently did a story reporting on the Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) breach. The story gives details on the breach and FDIC’s investigation of their security operations.

One little gem: “Many FIS systems remain configured with default passwords, no passwords, non-complex passwords, and non-expiring passwords,” the FDIC wrote. “Enterprise vulnerability scans in November 2012, noted over 10,000 instances of default passwords in use within the FIS environment.”

And another: “The Executive Summary Scan reports from November 2012 show 18,747 network vulnerabilities and over 291 application vulnerabilities as past due,” the report charges.”

Big numbers. It’s as if they’re trying to set a record.

Roger June 6, 2013 5:17 PM

@Petréa Mitchell:
Re: avoiding hand-washing.

As others have pointed out, the issue is not so much avoiding hand-washing, as avoiding hand-washing anything up to 200 times per day. Some people get severe dermatitis from it. I personally know of one nurse who got to the point where her hands were constantly bleeding from all of the finger webs and most of the knuckles.

The hospital administrators were the usual sort of mindless bureaucrat who knows everything about “following process” and nothing at all about their actual business, and so insisted she keep doing it or get sacked.

Needless to say, she became a one of those evil “hand washing evaders”, and instead just used a lot of disposable gloves.

Clive Robinson June 6, 2013 8:14 PM

@ moo,

    Why are Americans surprised exactly by the extent of the NSA’s scooping up all data about everything?

Because “now it’s real” where as befor it was just the “unreal hype of the security nuts/conspiracy theorists” even though a couple of elected Democrats had been saying it for a while…

The interesting part is it was the FBI who applied to the FISA court but the “goodies” get sent to the NSA.

I think it’s probably safe to say that Verizon has been getting them every three months, and further so has every other actual carrier (bandwidth re-sellers possibly not depending on who the metadata holders are).

What is not clear is the scope of the “location metadata” from towers and GPS. That is is it only whilst a call is in progress or continuously?

It makes a significant difference to network traffic, and I’m guessing that it may not actually be continuous currently for all providers, just what is recorded at the network center on hand off etc (though that will change).

What I suspect is the problem is what people are starting to think about POTUS in effect it’s another major nail like the failure to close Gitmo. To many it’s now “more of the same old same old” with the only difference between the Dems / Repubs being the type of honesty, Barack “The Control Freak” Obama has been found more wanting / craven in this respect than G.W.Bush, in effect all image control and very little or no action on what he promised.

The result for many US citizens is thus cognative disonance and the pain it causes, some will no doubt feel that “they have been played as fools” and that is going to hurt.

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