To me, the Sony breach is noteworthy not just because of its magnitude, but because it doesn’t appear to be driven by profit, unlike the other big breaches in recent memory. Instead, it’s a return of vigilante hacktivism, and entertainment companies are particularly vulnerable because, the Washington Post argues, all movies have an element of politics in them.
That’s a problem for U.S. companies in an interconnected world, because much of the world doesn’t value free speech as the United States does. The plot of the movie “Red Dawn” was changed–China, not North Korea, was the original aggressor–to avoid offending the Chinese government, for example. Search Google for “movies that offended foreign governments” sometime. It’s amazing how many you’ll find.
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. Read more
I went looking for a resource-friendly browser that would run well on a 1 GHz-ish Android tablet. Everything I read said that Baidu was the lightest browser on resources. Since Baidu is a Chinese company and very low-end Android tablets are common in China, this makes sense.
I’ve never been one to shy away from alternative browsers on low-end systems on other platforms. Usually I sacrifice some rendering quality, but I frequently found that preferable to waiting around for minutes for bloatware to load and pages to render at glacial speed.
So I tried out Baidu, in spite of criticisms of its user interface and annoying defaults. The annoying defaults, it turns out, are easy enough to turn off, and I found the user interface, though out of style, makes it easier to use. It has forward and back buttons, unlike most other browsers on Android, and tapping those buttons is far more responsive than gestures on high-end browsers. I’m willing to give up 8 pixels of vertical space for that. Read more
Cnet took a field trip to the official Lionel repair facility and wrote a feature story about it. It’s nice to see the attention outside of the hobby press, since it’s frequently news to people that Lionel is still around in any form. Read more
I read yet another anti-CISPA piece today. I’m not comfortable trying to read it and decide whether it’s a good or bad piece of legislation, but I do understand the problem it’s trying to solve.
Those who have tried to paint CISPA as the new SOPA or PIPA are misunderstanding the problem CISPA is trying to solve. CISPA isn’t supposed to be about stopping the scourge of teenaged boys using the Internet to copy music and movies. It’s actually chasing something nefarious.
Let me give you an example.
So John C Dvorak (I’ll call him John Dvorak because he hates it–John Dvorak John Dvorak John Dvorak) says that cyber warfare, like Y2K, is a bunch of hooey.
I lived through Y2K, and I’m fighting the cyber war. He’s wrong on both counts. Read more
John C Dvorak asks what war we’re waging on hackers. While war may not be the best choice of words, because it’s not exactly a conventional war, there’s no question there’s something going on, and we’re not winning it right now.
The latest salvo is that someone in China is building a botnet using Macintoshes. Read more
Antivirus vendor Kapersky has identified a new trojan horse targetting Macintoshes. It spreads a botnet based somewhere in China via an infected Microsoft Word document, typically sent as an e-mail attachment.
The spin is that if you don’t use Word on your Mac, you’re safe. That’s true–this week. But going forward, it’s going to take more than that. Read more
“Companies once felt an obligation to support American workers, even when it wasn’t the best financial choice,” said Betsey Stevenson, the chief economist at the Labor Department until last September. “That’s disappeared. Profits and efficiency have trumped generosity.”
Apple Computer, currently the highest-valued company in the country, at its peak employs 1/10 the number of Americans as General Motors did in the 1950s. Apple is an easy target because it’s big, but the problem isn’t unique to Apple. Technology companies as a whole employ fewer people than the heavyweights of ages past like General Motors and General Electric. It’s the nature of the work.
Fightforthefuture.org declared victory yesterday, saying that SOPA and PIPA have been dropped. Their e-mail said some other important and interesting things, but most importantly, it made some references to China. Communist China. Totalitarian Communist China.
The distinction is important.