When the heat goes out during Finnish winter, it’s a matter of life and death, so when two automated buildings controlled by Valtia systems suffered DDoS attacks that shut off the heat, Finns were understandably alarmed about the new threat.
This is precisely why security must be a legally mandated default in consumer electronics, especially when the failure of said product can put life or limb in danger.
Source: DDoS attack on Finnish automated buildings disabled heating controls / Boing Boing
Jacob Applebaum: To Protect And Infect, Part 2 [30c3] (by CCCen)
This video deviates from the new themes of my Tumblr (reading, writing, gender, etc) back towards a topic that is dear to me: IT security. All technical bits are well and clearly explained, so the video should be accessible to any and all world citizens disgusted by the egregious actions perpetrated by the NSA (hi, guys) and allowed by legislators and executive.
The Great Geek Sexism Debate
This post from io9 editor Annalee Newitz presents the rare opportunity to post something that addresses all three of my Simsian Review themes. In it, she presents episodes in three recent, major geek cons where gender disparities in publishing, atheism, and hacking (respectively) were on display.
Sexism in geek culture presents an interesting challenge. Somehow, geeks have made headway in moving from a denigrated position to one of power quite easily, at least compared to attempts to undermine male hegemony and obstinacy in any number of fields. Among geeks, I often find myself having to point out inappropriate comments or actions but I notice less resistance than with non-geeks. Of course, this amounts to anecdotal, and thus useless, evidence. Still, sexism among geeks is shocking in a way that it is not among business entrepreneurs. Perhaps this is just cognitive bias, as I obviously fit more easily into the former camp rather than the latter. History is replete with disadvantaged groups simultaneously seeking equality and instances of groups fighting each other as they also fight against existing power are always discouraging. I am thinking primarily of disparate worker rights groups fighting each other at the same time that they fight for extended rights and abolitionists and suffragettes at odd with one another. This is hardly the topic being addressed by Ms. Newitz, but I can’t help but feel disheartened when I see a group left out of the progress of a larger set to which they belong.
All of that said, please click-through and read.
Leave Your Cellphone at Home: Interview with Jacob Appelbaum
Jacob Appelbaum of Wikileaks and The Tor Project has an excellent interview regarding privacy, IT security, and cellphones over at n+1. Any expectation of actual security or privacy while using a cellphone is tenuous at best and absolutely absurd at worse, but it really puts a great deal into perspective reading all of this from someone in Mr. Appelbaum’s position.
Software can only do so much when the device and the infrastructure it relies on are, by nature, dependent on a trackable system. Any illusions to an individual being able to circumvent tracking are just that: illusions. He also make a great argument as to why security and privacy cynics should be concerned, so I really recommend this article for those choice few who spend any portion of their lives on their phone.
Boing Boing has a great write up of the article, if brevity is required.
How Facebook Design Is Tricking You Into Sharing Info
Thanks to Facebook’s new hidden application permissions, please make sure to read the hover-over text.