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* Posts by Alan Brown

9999 posts • joined 8 Feb 2008

Reel talk: You know what's safely offline? Tape. Data protection outfit Veeam inks deal with Quantum

Alan Brown
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Re: Safe until ...

"A few years back - Someone found out that Fireproof didn't mean the contents could survive intense heat, just that they wouldn't catch fire."

You should read up on the differences between a fire safe and a _data_ safe. The latter are rated to keep the contents well below melting points for several hours of 1100C fire, take a drop of around 10 metres, endure more fire and then sit 24 hours in the embers before being recovered - and at that point they have to be left several days before being opened.

Fire safes are for paper - they just keep oxygen out. Data safes have insulation around 6 inches thick in them.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Safe until ...

"A The new backup overwrites the old backup with new encrypted files."

This is why you have a GFS (or more generations) strategy.

I use 4 gens per year, with intermediate monthly differentials and (at least) daily incrementals, and a retention period ranging between 18 months and 5 years, with a backup package (Bacula) that allows me to pinpoint any file on any tape _AND_ its SHA256 checksum at the time of backup (so I can tell _when_ any given file changed before I even open the data safes)

When the tape _drives_ cost £12,000(LTO6) to £20,000(LTO8) apiece, the cost of tapes is in the noise.

"B. Someone walks off with the tapes."

2 * https://www.phoenixsafe.co.uk/product/data-commander-ds4623e/ here and demand for a third one if I can find the space. (They're about £6500 apiece, delivered and stuffed with drawers instead of shelves. DON'T take the shelves option, you _will_ regret it)

See #1 above. All those tapes take volume. You can put about 1850 LTOs in each one of these babies

"C. Those old tapes in the cupboard? They're old just throw them out."

See above. Your bigger problem is making sure that older LTO archives are migrated to new media within 2 _drive_ generations, or they become unreadable. Again, a decent backup system makes this straightforward.

"D. The offsite server location caught fire?"

See above

"E. Miscreants learn how to infect the Scalar i3 tape library with ransomware"

See A (This is a risk for any backup system, but you don't use the same OS on your backup server as everything else do you?)

"F. Restores are carelessly done to a system still infected."

Restores in this kind of situation are generally bare metal.

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Boffins get fish drunk to prove what any bouncer already knows

Alan Brown
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Taurine?

This hasn't been shown to have any effect on humans at all.

Perhaps if you were a cat....

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Samsung drops 128TB SSD and kinetic-type flash drive bombshells

Alan Brown
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Re: Are you pleased to see me or is that a 128TB SSD in your pocket?

"I'm really not looking forward to backing up a 128TB SSD onto 3½" floppies."

I have these nice glass cubes and a laser etcher I can sell you....

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Alan Brown
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Re: key and value

>> "Filesystems should all be databases"

> They are in essence, file allocation table is your database index, journelling on filesystems that have it is much like change tracking on a database.

Oracle databases have been able to be addressed as databases from one angle and as filesystems from another for at least 20 years. This isn't exactly new technology or concepts

The hardest part is bending your mind around something that's both a database and a filesystem at the same time.

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Alan Brown
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"I well remember the first time I bought some add-on RAM, for my brand-spanking-new PC-World sourced 486 rig."

It wasn't PeeCee Whirled, and, but 64MB of ram for the (then) top of the line 486dx2/66 (2 32MB dimms) cost just shy of £2500 pounds.

I'll leave it up to you to guess the year. As a hint, the 4GB Seagate Barracuda that went into the same box cost £2000

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Alan Brown
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Re: 128TB ?

"many of us just dreaming of the return of £25 128GB drives."

They haven't gone away, Sandisk are still selling them.

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Oh my Tosh, it's only a 100TB small form-factor SSD, SK?

Alan Brown
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Re: Now put 40 of these in a rack and we have 217.6PB

"Oh boy, now that's a lot of porn!"

Or some _very_ high res porn.

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Alan Brown
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Re: No-one will ever...

More to the point, the 2.5inch format is about the largest form factor you can make and still reliabily dissipate the heat (and that really only in 7mm thickness)

3.5 inch SSDs keep on being announced, but are endlessly plagued with heatsinking issues. The format worked for spinny things but it makes zero sense for solid state and trying to force the SSD square peg into that round hole isn't a good idea.

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Alan Brown
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Re: How many electrons per bit?

"So with 16 levels and the cells getting ever tinier,"

They're not. They stepped back from that and got got bigger when the fabs stepped from planar to 3d, because shrinking cells resulted in slower NAND with substantially lower durability. Cell size hasn't shrunk since, which is why there's all that emphasis on more layers and more bits per cell.

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Prank 'Give me a raise!' email nearly lands sysadmin with dismissal

Alan Brown
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Re: high time email clients, as a default

"residential users of email, who can only send via their ISP's SMTP "

Residential users of email should _never_ be using the SMTP port. That's a big red "Danger Will Robinson" flag. They should be up on the authenticated ports and ISPs have zero business blocking those.

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Alan Brown
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"Thats why pissing in the water cooler works better."

If you're going to go down that route, a drop of phenolthalein is more effective and I'm surprised Simon hasn't worked it into a BOFH story yet.

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Alan Brown
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"ability to forge a From: address is baked in to SMTP, and it relied on Damian having sysop privileges."

You don't need sysop privileges to forge SMTP. You don't even need to be the janitor.

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Disk will eat itself: Flash price crash just around the over-supplied block

Alan Brown
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"Enterprise ssd - why not just use a raid of cheap consumer ones?"

RAID-Z3 of them, actually (Or ZRaid1) - You don't need the L2ARC, but they still benefit from the ZIL SLOG drive to smooth out the random writes (with a long enough delay period a lot of random writes end up evaporating entirely instead of turning into sequential ones and the ZIL is only ever used in anger when recovering from an unexpected power cut)

ZFS - the filesystem based on the premise that "Disks are crap, just deal with it" - instead of trying to take the usual enterprise approach of gold plating everything to get extra reliability it never assumes that what you put in is what you get out.

"But enterprise ssds? Seems to mostly be higher write cycles tolerance, and even on consumer level ssds the endurance is "lots" "

This in spades. People are sniffing at 0.5DWPD on 4TB SSDs - forgetting that in the case of sata drives that's getting close to "all writes, all the time" - given that mechanical drives max out at around 120MB/s sequential that's effectively filling them 5-6 times faster than you can do with a mechanical drive, nonstop, over 3-5 years (depending on the warranty period) - this simply isn't a real-world use cases for drives of this scale and means you're unlikely to ever run out of spare blocks _even if_ you decide to use the drives for surveillance systems and don't allocate more spare space just in case.

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Alan Brown
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Re: "They would then only be 4X more expensive per GB than disk drives"

"In other words, still way too expensive for me to buy."

Are you kidding? At 4x the cost of HDDs most of the market will be biting SSD sellers' arms off.

You'll save 1/3 of that difference in power consumption costs in the first 12 months alone, and with SSDs on average lasting at least 6-8 years in service the major savings come when you don't have to buy another hard drive. The faster seek times and throughput are just icing on the cake at that price.

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Criminal justice software code could send you to jail and there’s nothing you can do about it

Alan Brown
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Re: Previous issues with 'trade secret' software

"In 2005, a judge ruled (upheld in US circuit court) that a DUI defendant had the right to have the breathalyzer source code revealed and reviewed."

And it's notable how fast law enforcement agencies have sprinted from US courtrooms when use of Stingrays has been challenged by attempting to drag the technology into the open.

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Devon County Council techies: WE KNOW IT WASN'T YOU!

Alan Brown
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Re: 3rd party

" the ONLY way to get them to work correctly was with obsolete versions of Internet Explorer."

"But, but but, MS is the standard, not this new fangled w3c standards checker thing!"

I used to have a lot of fun with twats like that by invoking the blind web browser with a braille interface who now had an open and shit case for discrimination. It seldom worked in getting the twats off their high horses, but it sure as hell rattled the shit out of local government administrators who had visions of "breach

of legal duty of care" being slapped on their arses,

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Wasted worker wasps wanna know – oi! – who are you looking at?

Alan Brown
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Re: Wasps

"Use ant powder to kill wasps nests. Not fucking petrol!"

If you do insist on using petrol, don't be so stupid as to light it, It's the fumes that do them in (confession: we used it in the 1970s for in-ground major infestations around a rural school as it worked in less than 24 hours, kids were at-risk and the things seemed to be immune to everything else. No, we didn't light it - it was a different part of the world and a different approach to H&S. I don't think you'd get away with jamming 750ml glass beer bottles full of petrol into wasp next entrances in the dead of night and running like hell anymore.)

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UK cyber cops: Infosec pros could help us divert teens from 'dark side'

Alan Brown
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Kids do all sorts of shit. Most of them grow out of it quickly.

The ones who don't tend to be low EQ sociopathic/psychopathic shits. The more dangerous ones are the smarter sociopaths/psychopaths who realise that visibly conforming is safer, whist still being just the same under the surface.

Yes, I know about various defiance disorders. They seldom manifest in actively doing "wrong thing" when left unsupervised and mostly consist of kicking against the pricks when overly hemmed in. That's far from the kinds of activities that sociopaths get up to.

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Grubby, tortuous, full of malware and deceit: Just call it Lionel because the internet is MESSY

Alan Brown
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Actually the Internet was an American MILITARY Cold War invention. There's a reason it was originally called ARPAnet

Universities came along very much later.

As for trolls and loons of most descriptions, the best way to deal with them isn't control, but full exposure (ie, not on their terms). It's been proven to take the wind out of the sails of wannabe fascists for a very long time.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant

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Crims hacked accounts, got phones, resold them – and the Feds reckon they've nabbed 'em

Alan Brown
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Um......

"Two IP addresses linked with the residence were associated with at least 3,300 cell phone accounts at an unidentified service provider."

Why the FUCK didn't the "unidentified cellular service provider" loss prevention team flag this as suspicious?

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Creased Lightning: Profits wobble at Virgin Media while fibre project stays sluggish

Alan Brown
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Re: They'd save a bloody fortune

"It's often cheaper to mail-bomb an area to every "Dear Occupier" than to target specific groups, eg non-customers."

And Royal Mail are colluding in this, with the ICO agreeing that their junkmail optout with its 18 month limit is not a GDPR abuse.

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Alan Brown
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Re: They'd save a bloody fortune

"If they stopped sending me "sign up" junk mail every few days."

I hit them with a DPA section 11 notice a while back - they claim they can't stop sending them (despite delivering to a specific address) because they have no record of the address in their system.

Some people have claimed that they've managed to get their addresses delisted from marketing by sending back postage due bricks.

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Alan Brown
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"Only if customers take their business elsewhere"

We did (business connection), mainly because every time anything went wrong with our 1Gb/s ethernet link it'd take 2-3 days before the bickering between BTOR and Virgin allowed things to be fixed (It was always a recurring OR problem, but Virgin always dragged feet on getting someone out to identify the fault and declare it as such, because OR would charge a fortune for callouts)

That's how BT manage to undermine their opponents - bearing in mind that OR have a monopoly on the "last mile" in so many areas and are able to do this with ease at interconnects.

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Oh, fore putt's sake: Golf org PGA bunkered up by ransomware attack just days before tournament

Alan Brown
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And yet another organisation learns the value of backups....

... AFTER the event which required them.

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Hackers can cook you alive using 'microwave oven' sat-comms – claim

Alan Brown
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Re: Risk to people?

"You'd eventually give someone cataracts pointing decent Radar at them"

Given the power of a radar transmitter _THAT_ doesn't take long. (50kW pulses or thereabouts, 3000W average. 150W for more modern units)

One of my friends was a ground operations guy at a small airport (the guy with the paddles who waves the aircraft into parking positions) whilst working up the hours to get his commercial pilot license.

One day around 25 years ago the crew of a deHavilland Dash-8 forgot to turn off the weather radar before landing at Milson and left it running all the way up to the stand - where in less than 5 minutes they fried my friend before he or the crew realised what had happened.

He was in hospital for months and has never been able to pilot an aircraft since thanks to the damage done to his eyes.

It's not just high power microwaves which are dangerous either:

At another site (HF transmitting station ZLB) one of my cow-orkers got careless whilst tuning a SW comms transmitter and had the (dis)pleasure of having ~5kW 13MHz RF enter via his hand, run down his arm, body, leg and exit via his knee (which was touching the transmitter casing). It left a line of cooked flesh about an inch deep and two inches wide along the entire RF burn - There's a reason behind the warning to tune high powered stuff with the other hand firmly in your pocket (not leaning casually on the cabinet next to the antenna terminals of 1950s-era STC DS12 TXes with a reputation for being bitey at the best of times)

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Alan Brown
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Re: RF OOps

"For satcomms, usually Tx (/+Rx ) antennae are not huge and are pretty directional but not tremendously high powered due to the modulation techniques and using them as a steered death ray is going to take quite a long exposure."

That's the understatement of the century (and it'd take about a century of standing directly in front of one to achieve any significant damage - including cataracts.)

You'd get damage if you put your eye over the end of the waveguide, but the point is that even with a 10W transmitter - unusually strong for satcom - the spread over the dish surface is already well below any hazardous level and even standing directly in front is quite safe - until someone nearby decides to take matters into their own hands because you blocked their signal.

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What do a meth, coke, molly, heroin stash and Vegas allegedly have in common? Broadcom cofounder Henry Nicolas

Alan Brown
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Some stories are just stories

Aircraft oxygen masks only have 5-10 minutes worth (even pilot ones). They're simply there to get from high altitudes to below 10,000 feet without losing conciousness

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Intel left a fascinating security flaw in its chips for 16 years – here's how to exploit it

Alan Brown
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Re: We've got our FBI on you

"Hell, they probably never needed an order to make such a modification"

This is far more likely.

Giving orders for such things means that someone will blab eventuallly. Finding holes and keeping sctum means that knowledge never leaves the lab which found it.

Remember this is the same NSA which advised against a bunch of password space not being used in the 1970s and it took 30 years for the holes in the DES algorithm behind that advice to be unearthed by civilians.

ISTR a bunch of discussion at the time that they gave up on Clipper along the lines that they must've found a better backdoor - and in such cases where they suddenly go quiet on something I'd say that's a deliberate hint that they're not allowed to release something but civilians should be paying attention to what's NOT being said.

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Alan Brown
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Re: a ha ha ha ha ha :(

The problem with Windows NT on "other platfoms" is a tale of two cities.

One is the NT OS (ancestry being VMS and Multics) - which is incredibly solid, has permission models which Unix can only dream of and runs just fine on other architectures

The other is the GUI layer, which is a tangled clusterfuck combined with a sucking quagmire and throws virtually all the finer points of the OS permissions out the window.

The fact that Microsoft tied the two together so indivisibly means that the entire mess is best avoided.

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Alan Brown
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Re: a ha ha ha ha ha :(

"Security is like virginity and balloons: one prick and it's gone. One little vector is all you need."

Which is why onion layer security is so important. Yet the world insists on egshells.

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IPv6: It's only NAT-ural that network nerds are dragging their feet...

Alan Brown
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" in the process of making this post, my browser is talking to 64:ff9b::104.18.227.129"

For the stick-in-the-muds, that can also be written as

0.100.255.155.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.0.104.18.227.129 - but it's a bit bloody longwinded isn't it?

THAT is why the new formatting was adopted.

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Alan Brown
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Re: "the world is clinging stubbornly to IPv4"

"Well if it's an internal network they can use IPv4 or v6. "

Perhaps, but the moment they step outside the private IP ranges you run into problems of collisions with resolution of them with external IPv4 ranges.

I ran into that a number of times 20 years ago when connecting outfits who'd pulled numbers out of their asses when setting up IP networks on the basis of "we'll never connect to the Internet, so any range will do" (128/8 was common). The usual method was double NATting, and you'd eventually get them phoning up panicstricken that they'd been hacked by UC Berkeley due to their internal ranges overlapping with that outfit's public ones.

So, 4 billion internal IPv4 addresses? Not a good idea.

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Alan Brown
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Re: If it works don't fix it...

"Firewalling IPV6 is hard "

In summary: "Bullshit"

It's no harder than firewalling IPv4.

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Alan Brown
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> "It's being worked on, we should be starting initial roll out next year."

> That was 5 years ago

Ditto.

Which is why I filed an ASA complaint about what they're calling Unlimited Broadband and Internet.

There is ZERO mention of IPv6 on their website. I've pointed ou tthat some other ISPs are specifically saying they can't provide IPv6 whilst others (A&A) are pointing out that they can.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Obvious need for..

"I'm not up to speed on the technicalities of IPv4 vs v6"

That much is obvious. Various ways of trying to but out compatible ways forward were discussed and discarded because it was clear they would end up as a Rube-Goldberg (Heath-Robinson for the ukites) mess from the outset and things would go rapidly downhill from there.

IPv4 was not designed with expandability in mind. It was intended to be a temporary solution to a pressing problem with a 5-year life expectancy whilst a "real" internet protocol (IPv5) was under development. That "solution" turned out to be IPX, which turned out to be completely unusable because Novell forgot that it needed to be widely routable.

At its core, IPv6 _IS_ just IPv4 with extra bytes tacked on. The way its written is different but you can use octets if you really want to (the format change is to keep it manageable) and it still has 65536 ports, etc. There are some extensions to add functionality and extra undefined type fields to handle future growth in types, because IPv4 demonstrated that what was projected wasn't enough.

The single biggest problem is that there is NO WAY WHATSOEVER that an IPv4 host can initiate a connection to an IPv6 one. It would be like a 2 dimensional being trying to connect to a 3 dimensional one. Or to put it another way, it would be like trying to communicate from our universe to other bubbles in the multiverse. We simply can't address those spaces whilst sitting in this frame of reference.

IPv4 is full. There are no more addresses being issued - ever. There's some horse trading of existing ones around the edges which is simply making the existing routing quagmire even worse whilst people are kidding themselves that "Ip addresses" are valuable. meantime, there are quadzillions going begging if you look in the other direction, to the tune of a few million "IPv4" IP ranges person.

Whoever pays out millions for a few IPv4 subnets and then has to explain to the investors that they're essentially worthless is going to be an unhappy camper. There are already fairly large tracts of netspace that are unreachable from IPv4-space. Even if Joe-average consumer can't see that those of use who need to deal with the US, EU or Chinese high speed academic networks are already feeling it and IPv6 is gaining popularity across asia thanks to the effects of multiple levels of IPv4 CG-NAT.

If you want to beat on the Brexit drum, live in your little IPv4 walled garden and dream of the days of empire and a smaller network world, then feel free, but bear in mind that the last outfits to leave IPv4 space will be the marketers - who love the stick-in-the-mud reluctant shifters, so you can look forward to an ever-increasing proportion of spam as the rest of the world moves to ipv6-only.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Second class netizen

"Nevertheless if you talk to those who are using such connections and tell them about their potential problems they'll look at you blankly and say "but it works"."

So did people who had the most amazingly shitty TV pictures until the day they saw a decent display on their neighbour's set thanks to a decent antenna

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Alan Brown
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Re: "the world is clinging stubbornly to IPv4"

"Erm, is there any reason all those shoddily (or not at all) secured IoT devices should be directly on the Net, rather than behind a NAT gateway?"

Actually what happens is that because of CGNAT, they tunnel out to servers in other parts of the world to get a stable address and that's where a lot of the problems start rearing their ugly head (essetnially creating a VPN backdoor into your NATed home network.

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Mind behind 16.7m nuisance call menace cops six-year boss ban

Alan Brown
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Why should these scum be treated any differently.

Because the fine isn't imposed by the court, which makes enforcement difficult.

Legislation needs adjusting, which is unlikely to happen - take a look at the "friends" networks of these scumbags and you'll find a lot of politicians involved and handwringing about gummit innerferrance in legidemute biznutz

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Alan Brown
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Re: Now he can't run a UK biz

"I'm not saying he wouldn't do it but he would be heading into progressively deeper shit if he did."

Part of me is hoping that he's both stupid enough to try and thick enough not to realise that a lot of people are going to make a hobby out of keeping an eye on his activities.(*)

Personally I thin the ban should be 6 years or until the fine is paid, whichever is longer.

(*) Bearing in mind that a lot of criminals of this kind believe they're too clever to get caught, that they have an infallible scheme and tend to have a tendency to gloat about their moneymakers or simply flaunt the unexplained wealth.

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Sad Nav: How a cheap GPS spoofer gizmo can tell drivers to get lost

Alan Brown
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Re: The Rout of Civilisation

"there was an effective system called Loran that used fixed radio masts and triangulation to piinpoint a ships position."

Actually it had some interesting problems with beam refraction around headlands and other foibles which could result in you calculating your position to be as much as 20 miles from your real location.

Nonetheless it's making a comeback.

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Can we talk about the little backdoors in data center servers, please?

Alan Brown
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"This is news?"

More problematic is PHBs who try to pretend this stuff doesn't exist and "turn it off".

Except, for the most part you can't, which means assumptions about not needing to firewall/segment/check for these things piggybacking on mainboard ethernet ports are invalid.

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Google Spectre whizz kicked out of Caesars, blocked from DEF CON over hack 'attack' tweet

Alan Brown
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Re: Hum

"In all seriousness, Vegas casinos have some of the most comprehensive and sophisticated monitoring and data analysis setups on the planet. The things they can do if they so choose are often terrifying."

Which inspired the lyrics 'I am the Eye in the Sky, looking at you, I can read your mind/I can cheat you blind'

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The age of hard drives is over as Samsung cranks out consumer QLC SSDs

Alan Brown
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Re: A SSD on a Sata III...

> makes about as much sense as driving a supercar around with the hand brake on.

Nope. Sata's still useful, These big SSDs aren't particularly fast. They can max out a sata bus but they're not much faster than that even though they blow HDDs out of the water on latency.The tradeoff is heat.

Think of these as a large Box van. The increased performance is only part of the equation when buying them. Reduced power consumption & noise, vastly faster startup (which means they can sleep faster and that drops the power consumption even more) and massively longer lifespans than spenning drives are where these win out.

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Alan Brown
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"Fat lot of good when your laptop ONLY takes SATA"

I'll leave you with THIS: https://www.startech.com/HDD/Adapters/m2-sata-adapter~S322M225R

Or If you have a truely ancient laptop, THIS: https://www.lindy.co.uk/components-tools-c7/drive-caddies-raid-c321/msata-to-2-5-ide-ssd-drive-7mm-p8706

You can get them considerably cheaper than the figures above if you look around and they both work fairly well.

Of course, in a desktop, space isn't so much of an issue anyway.

You could always use an expresscard SSD, but it's no faster than a sata bus and they've pretty much gone from the market.

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Alan Brown
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Re: Where's my

The fun part is getting a PATA to M2 adaptor and then cropping a suitable msata card into it.

It's cheaper than getting a PATA ssd and _much_ faster (the pata SSDs tend to be crap). You'll find your old workhorses start moving at unbelievable speeds.

This is also a good way of keeping various scada kit and things like ancient CNC equipment alive.

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Emma's Diary fined £140k for flogging data on over a million new mums to Labour Party

Alan Brown
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Re: Should have been more given the domain

"there's another similar company who are even worse "

You can always let the ICO know about them.

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Bank on it: It's either legal to port-scan someone without consent or it's not, fumes researcher

Alan Brown
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Re: @camilla I'm not... However

"So as far as I am concerned, if I put anything online I fully *expect* it to be scanner, probed, prodded and slapped for good measure. "

127.0.0.1 is explicitly NOT online and I don't expect something outside my network to work out a way of bypassing my firewalls, scan it (and possibly the rest of my internal network) the report back to the attacker's mothership.

Halifax really haven't thought this one through and their actions go well beyond the bounds of what's reasonable behaviour. CMA most definietly applies - not for the scanning, but for the way they're explicitly bypassing security and attacking the target network, plus running unauthorised attack code on 3rd party computers.

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Rights groups challenge UK cops over refusal to hand over info on IMSI catchers

Alan Brown
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" They are no doubt hoping that the matter will never get to a Court with the power to force them to disclose the information."

What's been happening in the USA is that as soon as it looks likely that a court would order such a thing, they've dropped the cases in question.

Of course a judge whose interest has been piqued may not _allow_ them to walk away like that.

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Top Euro court: No, you can't steal images from other websites (too bad a school had to be sued to confirm this little fact)

Alan Brown
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"how exactly were the school to know of the copyright in the first place?"

That small thing called the Berne Convention. It's only been around for a hundred-and-something years.

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