All posts tagged United States

The curious case of the Commodore TED machines

Dan Bowman kindly pointed out to me that former Commodore engineer Bil Herd wrapped up his discussion of the ill-fated Commodore TED machines on Hackaday this week. Here in the States, few remember the TED specifically, but some people may remember that oddball Commodore Plus/4 that closeout companies sold for $79 in 1985 and 1986. The […]

Phil Kerpen, net neutrality, and socialism: A post-mortem

I learned the hard way a few weeks ago how net neutrality can be equated with socialism, an argument that puzzles people who work on computer networks for a living and see networking as a big flow of electrons. I think it’s very important that we understand how this happens. Here’s the tactic: Find a […]

A security professional fights back against tech support scammers

I guess Matt Weeks is as sick as I am of tech support scammers, because he developed a way to fight back, in the form of a Metasploit module that exploits a software defect in the AMMYY remote access tool that these scammers sometimes use. Metasploit is a tool that penetration testers use to demonstrate–with permission–how […]

Why Chinese hackers would be interested in U.S. healthcare data

About a year ago, a vendor mentioned kind of offhand that Chinese companies are extremely interested in U.S. healthcare data. Then he added, “I don’t understand why Asian people are interested in American health.” Then he questioned the appropriateness of the comment. Appropriate or not, it’s an example of something that, on the face of […]

Be careful about cheap phone/tablet chargers

Consumerist has a sad story about a woman who was electrocuted by a cheap USB charger. The danger seems greater in countries that use 230 volts around that house rather than 115 like the United States, but even 115 volts can be dangerous if it crosses a vital organ. A charger’s job is to take […]

A Comcastic-ally bad idea

If you haven’t heard about it, Comcast has plans to build a wifi network for its subscribers, on the back of its other subscribers’ routers. What’s worse is it’s an opt-out service. If you don’t hear about it and say something, you’re a hotspot for any other Comcast customer who happens to wander by. I’m […]

IT security vs. the construction industry

On the Risky Business podcast last week, Andrew Wilson, the CEO of Australian cryptography gear maker Senetas, stated that many businesses see the bad things that happen from poor IT security as just a cost of doing business. Nothing revolutionary there. We’ve all seen it. Target is paying a steep price right now, but what […]

Why last week’s “news” of the NSA’s quantum computer project doesn’t bother me

Last week, another Snowden leak surfaced that stated that the NSA is working on a quantum computer capable of breaking all known current encryption, trivially. I didn’t find this shocking.

You need a Yubikey.

I mentioned the Yubikey as the ultimate solution stolen passwords on the excellent Yahoo Marx Train forum, and another member asked me to elaborate on it. Rather than take up a lot of space with some off-topic discussion, I decided it would be better to write about it here. The Yubikey is the best solution […]

Deconstructing the healthcare.gov website fiasco

By reader request, I’m going to grab onto the third rail and talk about the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare/healthcare.gov website fiasco. As someone who has been involved in a large number of IT projects, inside and outside the government, successful and failed, I can speak to that. I know the burning question in everyone’s mind is […]