They’re not very expensive

Passwords belonging to British cabinet ministers, ambassadors and senior police officers have been traded online by Russian hackers, an investigation by The Times has found.

Email addresses and passwords used by Justine Greening, the education secretary, and Greg Clark, the business secretary, are among stolen credentials of tens of thousands of government officials that were sold or bartered on Russian-speaking hacking sites. They were later made freely available.

Two huge lists of stolen data reveal private log-in details of 1,000 British MPs and parliamentary staff, 7,000 police employees and more than 1,000 Foreign Office officials, an analysis shows — including the department’s own head of IT.

Apparently they’re £2 each. But then that’s probably about what they’re worth. Both in the sense of well, what’s going to be so exciting about their accounts and also in the sense of how tough is it going to be to guess?

Don’t forget that Harriet Harman’s log in to her WordPress site was “Harriet” “Harman”

Well, yes, obviously

Facebook only limits holocaust denial to where it’s illegal to deny the holocaust.

The documents provided to moderators make quite clear that Facebook does not want to remove Holocaust denial content in any country where it is illegal. But it appears to make exceptions in four countries – those where the site is likely to face prosecution or be sued. Facebook explains it deals with ‘locally illegal content’ by ‘geo-blocking’ or ‘hiding’ offensive material in the countries where it is likely to provoke a reaction. Facebook said the figures set out in the documents were not accurate, but declined to elaborate.

What else does anyone want them to do?

An Austrian court has ruled that the local Green Party leader cannot be called a “corrupt bumpkin.” And insisted that this applies to Facebook world wide.

We would prefer that system, would we? Where 192 different jurisdictions get to decide what everyone in all 192 jurisdictions gets to read?

Rare to see it said so explicitly

Experts welcomed the comments but were sceptical about what could be achieved. Tony Jaffa, a partner at Foot Anstey solicitors, said: “It’s a very laudable aim for Britain to lead the world in policing these companies but I’m not sure how achievable it is. It’s obvious that US tech companies are dominant, and the Americans have a conception of freedom of expression that’s quite different to ours, coming from their ideas about the first amendment.

“These companies claim they’re tech companies and not publishers while we on this side of the Atlantic believe that’s exactly what they are. It’s not only the companies that don’t accept those responsibilities but US lawmakers too.”

How dare the damn colonials just let people say whatever they want?

Mark Skilton, professor of practice at Warwick University, said: “The idea of an expert data-use and ethics commission is a good one, given the monopolisation of yours and my data by Google, Facebook and others for advertising and personal services . . .

Another professor of practice who is an idiot. T%he “and others” rather refutes the idea of monopoly, doesn’t it?

Hmmmm

DHL Consignment Notification Arrival:

Dear a@a.com

You have an uncleared DHL shipments posted to your address.

Please take a moment to track your package online .

Thanks for chosen us!

DHL Global Forwarding.Deutsche Post DHL Group
Copyright © 2017 DHL International GmbH.
All rights reserved.

Why do I think this is a phishing attempt?

Ah, that’s why.

Bleedin’ ‘ell

How far has Yahoo fallen?

Used to be (12 months back say) that getting a piece onto the main page of Yahoo News gained hundreds of thousands of page views as they had easily millions who used that as their reference point to the world.

I seem to have three pieces on there today and it’s not even registering on the hit counter.

Blimey.

There’s going to be a lot of this

A hacker set off all 156 emergency sirens in Dallas which wailed for 90 minutes overnight.

The hacker tricked the system into sending repeated signals 60 times from 11.42 pm until 1.17am on Saturday morning.

Rocky Vaz, director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management said the hacker was from Dallas, USA Today reported.

However, the culprit has yet to be found.

The hacker created havoc in the city. The sirens are normally used to warn of severe weather, such as tornadoes.

I am so not looking forward to the internet of things. Because absolutely no fucker is ever going to secure these things, are they?

So, you’ll be able to wi fi the toaster to start up when the alarm goes off. And instead it will have been making coffee for some spotty teenager in Minsk all night.

Quite so

Cameron’s legislation has not happened, and there’s a simple reason; encryption is a binary. Either something is encrypted, and thus secure from everyone, or it’s not. As the security expert Bruce Schneier has written: “I can’t build an access technology that only works with proper legal authorisation, or only for people with a particular citizenship or the proper morality. The technology just doesn’t work that way. If a backdoor exists, then anyone can exploit it.”

That’s the crux of the problem. While you can legislate to only give state agencies access to terrorists’ communications, and with proper oversight and authorisation, you cannot actually build encryption that works like that. If you put a backdoor in, it’s there not just for security services to exploit, but for cyber-criminals, oppressive regimes and anyone else.

There is no way around this. Either we can say that end to end encryption is legal or that it is illegal. There is no way to have it being legal but not really encryption…..

The solution to the fake news problem

Gaah, why didn’t I think of this?

The only solution to the problem of fake news that neither misdiagnoses the problem nor overpowers the elites is to completely rethink the fundamentals of digital capitalism. We need to make online advertising – and its destructive click-and-share drive – less central to how we live, work and communicate. At the same time, we need to delegate more decision-making power to citizens – rather than the easily corruptible experts and venal corporations.

This means building a world where Facebook and Google neither wield much clout nor monopolise problem-solving. A formidable task worthy of mature democracies. Alas, the existing democracies, stuck in their denials of various kinds, prefer to blame everyone but themselves while offloading more and more problems to Silicon Valley.

Nationalise Facebook and Google. Or at least wield the power of the Curajus State over them.

That’s Evgeny Morozov’s idea at least. What is it about Belorussians that leads to this sort of thing?

Well, he’s right too

President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly questioned whether critical computer networks can ever be protected from intruders, alarming cybersecurity experts who say his comments could upend more than a decade of national cybersecurity policy and put both government and private data at risk.

Asked late Saturday about Russian hacking allegations and his cybersecurity plans, Trump told reporters that “no computer is safe” and that, for intelligence officials, “hacking is a very hard thing to prove.”

“You want something to really go without detection, write it out and have it sent by courier,” he said as he entered a New Year’s Eve party at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort.

Step one in making your computer more secure is to disconnect it from the internet.

Step two is to disconnect it from any network at all, especially any that might have even the most vague and multi-step connection to the internet.

Then remove all floppy drives, USB ports, pen drives and etc.

Then watch as your sys admin loots it a la Ed Snowden.

So why is Trump’s simple statement of the obvious truth alarming experts?

So here’s a question about Facebook

Apparently there’s something on Facebook called the news feed. With trending topics.

I can find the news feed, of course. That gives me things “friends” are saying. But what I can’t find is some more generalised news feed with trending topics. That is, stuff which is popular over the network. Where is that?

An interesting little point about Yahoo

From the Facebook results:

Facebook, which was founded in a Harvard dorm room in 2004 and joined the stock market in 2012, reported a 59pc rise in quarterly revenues to $6.44bn, while net income increased 186pc to $2.05bn. Both were ahead of forecasts.

Meanwhile, costs were up a third to $3.7bn. Spending on research and development rose 25pc to $1.46bn.

Yes, obviously, this doesn’t translate directly to Yahoo. But the general point stands. A large chunk of the costs of running these internet thingies is in trying to develop what to do next. If you accept that the basic idea is done, that you’ll not pivot to something else, then there’s good money to be made by simply running what already exists. Sweat the extant business that is, invest nothing in it. Pull that R&D spending out and profits do rather rise, don’t they?

The poster child for this is of course AOL. Their dial up business (no, seriously) still throws off rivers of cash.

To Yahoo, there’s an argument, which obviously I’ve not gone and checked but I think it could well be valid, that if Mayer had just said “Yahoo will die in a decade” therefore we’ll invest nothing and just send the rivers of cash to shareholders then those shareholders would be better off. That billion spent on Tumblr for example, but also just the general underlying spending on trying to advance things rather than just maintain and extract.

Or, as many have found before, sweating a dying business can be much more profitable than trying to reinvent it.

The same could even be true of Microsoft……forget mobiles, search and all that, Windows and Office, sweat them for two decades and let the thing die.

God I hate Microsoft

So, Skype, very useful program. And yet this computer, every time I try to open it, insists that I must set up a Microsoft.com account.

I don’t want one, thank you. I don’t want to have whatever benefits that might bring.

So, everytime my computer decides it needs to be restarted I have to download Skype again. Because then it works without having to log into the Microsoft.com account that I don’t have.

Most annoying. Grr.

So, Pokemon Go question

I sota understand roughly…..you wander around, the phone’s geolocation tells the phone where you are, so a map unrolls in the game and then you find the critters.

OK, so, are the critters in the same locations for everyone’s map?

And if so, when does someone post a map external to Pokemon showing all the locations?

Then reason for this question. We’ve a toolkit that makes it easy to place location data on a map. For example, take a picture, the app reads the geolocation, that image automatically posted to map. Woo hoo, right? We’re looking around for something to showcase it, an application for it. Fix My Street sort of thing perhaps (have vaguely talked to them). Pokemon, if it’s possible to work out where the critters are seems like a reasonable idea.

Thoughts?

Ooooh, I didn’t know this about Nick Denton

The founder of Gawker Media, Nick Denton, faces personal bankruptcy after a US judge refused to extend protections shielding him from liabilities in the Hulk Hogan privacy case.

I knew that Gawker had gone into Chapter 11 but wasn’t aware that Denton was threatened personally.

Denton said in court that he has two assets, his equity in his apartment and his stock in Gawker. Denton owns about 30% of Gawker. The value of the equity of his apartment was not referenced in court.

What happened to all the money he made from First Tuesday?