Chaos Manor View Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Just back from the dentist.
News is a bit slow. It is inevitable that Iran will have its first nuclear weapon, possibly days from when the 2016 elected President takes office. They could have several now, but I assume they will keep the implied bargain that they do not openly have one on Obama’s watch.
At some point there should be discussion on strategies when Iran has the bomb. There is also the question of Israeli strategy now until the 2016 election, and what they need to do after that election. It should be interesting days until January 2017.
On the “found” nuclear weapon:
Re: Lost Nuclear Bomb Corrected Link + Comment
I just read the linked article from your Saturday, April 18th View about the recovery of the long lost nuclear bomb. Several years ago I saw a one hour TV show about that loss (standard warnings apply!! :-p ). Allegedly the Air Force insisted that the bomb was empty – no warhead, certainly no nuclear warhead. While I did not accept that as 100% certain to be true, it was part of the justification given for why the search was eventually stopped. Now I wonder was that misinformation, or is the current report simply presented in a way more dramatic than accurate?
RE: Long lost nuclear warhead found…
As a former Air Force Officer I’ve always followed AF news with interest and so when I saw the link in your April 18 posting to a article about the ‘lost’ H-Bomb from 1958 having been found, I wondered how it could have not made bigger news at the time (Feb 15) and how I couldn’t have seen it. A little Google searching turned up no hits to this ‘news’, and putting in the name of the putative divers revealed only the original article and one on – guess where – Snopes – and another fake-tracer and one other site that had also been taken in. I realize that Snopes is not one of your favorite websites, but I don’t think they can have any agenda here.
Cecil Rose, LASFS Ootie
You will note that I made very little comment on the story; that is because I did know of other instances when USAAF and later USAF laid an egg, and recovery was a big deal; I wondered if there could be an instance in which the search was quietly abandoned, and privately I was astonished that if it had happened I did not know about it. I suspected that if such an incident occurred, I’d have long since known.
Of course the fissionables would long since have deteriorated, the Tritium decayed to impotence, and other deterioration would have made the find less worth while; still the very design mechanics of the fusion weapon – the US does not deploy fission weapons, and I doubt that this was that old – would be valuable to some including possibly Iran. The story had no Air Commandos or Air Security Police in it, so clearly USAF did not care about this “lost bomb”, which itself was suspicious to anyone thinking about it.
I simply do not rely on Snopes for anything.
Later yesterday I got
It appears that the lost nuclear weapon has not been found after all. Apparently the World News Daily Report is a satire site like The Onion. According to:
“WNDR assumes however all responsibility for the satirical nature of its articles and for the fictional nature of their content. All characters appearing in the articles in this website â€“ even those based on real people â€“ are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle.”
Which pretty well settles it.
Re: Lost Nuclear Bomb Corrected Link
BTW, the link in View had extra fluff at the beginning (I got the article by pasting the article name into Google). The correct link is
Plain text of link:
The link from view looked for (plain text):
Which obviously gave an error. And that brings up a point. Many of us occasionally send you links. In my own case I most often use Gmail’s browser interface writing in HTML to allow minor markup (boldface and whatnot). Links are typically added with control-k which gives a pop-up that allows for filling in a URL and optionally different text to display. This is how the first link above (the one not noted as plain text) is presented here.
Is that how you want to receive links? Or do you prefer that links simply be pasted as plain text? Even if plain text links are sent to you, whatever interface you use to read them might mark (or display) them as links anyway, I suppose.
I prefer plaintext links which I can copy. The link given worked for me.
I suppose this was inevitable.
Robot arrested for buying drugs
Dear Jerry –
Recently a Swiss robot was arrested for buying ecstacy on the darknet.
Ah well, it had to happen eventually.
Some entities will do anything for Art.
Google’s Biggest European Headache Isn’t Search. It’s Android.
A week into Google’s dramatic skirmish with the European Union, search has drawn most of the attention. But it’s the other case from Brussels that may have Google more worried.
The EU Competition Commission launched its investigation into Android last week in a move that could expose gaping blind spots in the tech giant’s ability to churn out innovation and profits. The EU is looking at three of its practices — pushing exclusive pre-installations of its apps and services on devices, bundling them, and blocking modified versions of the software. The case is structured similarly to its earlier charges against Microsoft, which was subjected to $1.5 billion in fines for bundling its browser.
Next to the search case, the commission’s new probe could have more teeth.
“The Android case is less advanced but, in a way, it’s a more conventional theory of what the Commission can do,” said Paul Lugard, a partner with Baker Botts who specializes in antitrust law. “I would not be very happy, if I were with Google, to hear that the Android case is going to accelerate.”
Google was not blindsided. The EU began its probe months ago, according to executives familiar with Google. One source said Google considered a potential regulatory threat as early as 2007, when it created the Open Handset Alliance, setting the wheels in motion for Android’s explosive growth.
But the probe comes at an awkward time. Despite Android’s dominant market share, the operating system has yet to bolster Google’s bottom line. In February, the company said Google Play paid developers $7 billion in the prior 12 months, about $3 billion shy of Apple’s far smaller market. Overall profits in Android hardware are suffering, too.
Google’s response has been to tighten its grip, restricting how hardware partners use Android in an attempt to seize more control over its open source product. If the EU were to net a concession from Google in its probe, it’s likely to be on bundling — Google’s requirement that its apps are available in a package on smartphones and tablets — one former employee said. “It’s what the OEMs complain the most about,” this person said.
On this front, some of Google’s rivals could help make its case to the EU. In its response to the probe, Google pointed to Amazon’s customized Android system and the bundling deals Samsung has with Facebook and Microsoft. Google could also point to Cyanogen, the well-funded Android startup who recently inked a partnership with Microsoft, as evidence of vibrant competition.
Google declined to comment further on the investigation.
Regardless of how the probe unfolds, its existence alone could hinder two pillars of Google’s plans for Android. First, there’s its future beyond phones: Android is increasingly steering into cars, TVs, wearables and other connected devices. For now, that expansion is even more restrictive than it is on handheld devices, with Google curtailing any potential customization of its software. It’s a tactic that the EU Commission, which is particularly concerned with market dominators bleeding into other industries, would not view favorably.
And then there’s Android’s future in emerging markets. There, Google is aggressively trying to develop a more uniform version of Android and halt its fragmentation. It’s even pondering a side entry into China, according to the Wall Street Journal. The probe could derail that, as Chinese officials watch European developments closely. “Any plans that Google has to go into China are going to be hurt by this EU investigation,” said the former employee.
Finally, there’s the chance that the EU’s probe can spark a similar suit here.
The FTC closed an Android case two years ago. But that does not preclude a rehashing, said Matt Reilly, counsel for FairSearch, an advocacy group backed by Microsoft, and a former assistant director for the FTC Bureau of Competition. “It could be an exciting, high-profile case,” he said. One that the agency’s lawyers may jump to take. “That’s what I liked working on at the FTC,” he added.
If the FTC does not pursue Android, other agencies might. Multiple people close to the companies involved in the EU cases against Google said they are pitching similar complaints to the Attorneys General and the Department of Justice.
Google’s best hope may be time. Evolution in the mobile industry is fast. When the EU case on search began in 2010, Facebook’s first Android app was five months old. Symbian was the world’s largest mobile operating system. Android had just pushed to fourth place, with 9.6% per Gartner, after passing Microsoft Windows.
By the time the EU investigation into Android takes shape, Android may look very different than it does today.
Yearly reminder: unless you’re over 60, you weren’t promised flying cars. You were promised an oppressive cyberpunk dystopia. Here you go.
— Kyle Marquis
Just how hackable is your plane? (WP)
By Andrea Peterson April 20 at 3:17 PM
Chris Roberts knows a lot about hacking planes. But not because he’s trying to make them fall out of the sky. In fact, his job as a security researcher is to figure out how bad guys could hack computer systems so that companies can fix them.
But a tweet joking about “playing” with a plane’s on-board communications systems made while Roberts was on a United Airlines flight last week landed him in hot water: The FBI questioned him for several hours after he landed and confiscated his laptop and hard drives. And then, over the weekend, he was blocked from boarding another United flight while on the way to speak at a security conference.
Roberts was able to book a last-minute flight on another airline. But his research raises bigger questions: Just how hackable are the planes millions of travelers rely on to get around the world? The answer, it turns out, is up for debate.
Planes are increasingly designed to give passengers more access to digital systems, mostly for entertainment purposes via in-flight Wi-Fi. But this connectivity may have a dark side: Last week, the Government Accountability Office released a report saying that security researchers have warned that this trend leaves planes less secure by providing a “direct link” between an aircraft and the outside world that could be leveraged by hackers.
Keeping flight-related and entertainment systems separate can be one way to limit an attacker’s access, but not all planes seem to be designed with that in mind. In 2008, the FAA expressed concern that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner combined some of that digital infrastructure — saying that the design “may result in security vulnerabilities.”
Modern planes use digital defenses called firewalls to protect cockpit systems against intrusions from someone connecting through other parts of the aircraft, like in-flight entertainment systems, the report said. Some cybersecurity experts worry that isn’t enough, arguing that “because firewalls are software components, they could be hacked like any other software and circumvented,” according to the report. But some critics of the report say it may have overstated the risks.
Boeing and competitor Airbus defended the security of their systems in statements to CNN in response to the GAO report. “Multiple security measures and flight deck operating procedures help ensure safe and secure airplane operations,” Boeing said.
But over the years, many researchers have warned about potential problems — including Roberts, the founder of One World Labs, who has given several talks about airplane cybersecurity.
Brad “RenderMan” Haines, a researcher who has investigated potential vulnerabilities in aircraft tracking systems, said limited access to avionic systems can make it hard to do comprehensive audits. “A lot of our research we can only take so far because we don’t want to cause problems — but all of the evidence seems to point to there being issues that remain unresolved.”
Haines said he would love to be proved wrong, but airlines and aircraft manufacturers seem uncomfortable with independent researchers reviewing their systems — possibly allowing political fears to trump providing the best security possible. “We’re trying to be part of the solution, and being ignored for it,” he said.
In an interview with CNN after being detained by the FBI, Roberts said he personally tested theories about how much visibility into avionic systems he had from the passenger cabin — pulling out his laptop and connecting it to a box underneath his seat 15 to 20 times on actual flights — and was able to view sensitive data from the flight systems. These statements, combined with the tweet, seems to have set off alarm bells at United.
“Given Mr. Roberts’ claims regarding manipulating aircraft systems, we’ve decided it’s in the best interest of our customers and crew members that he not be allowed to fly United,” United spokesperson Rahsaan Johnson told The Post over the weekend. “However, we are confident our flight control systems could not be accessed through techniques he described.”
The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Roberts’s situation, but in a recent interview with the Security Ledger, the researcher said the agency’s Denver office asked him to back off his aviation research in recent months.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which represents Roberts, called United’s decision to ban the researcher “both disappointing and confusing.”
“Security researchers are allies, not opponents, and their work makes us all more safe, not less,” said EFF staff attorney Nate Cardozo. “We fear that United’s actions here will cause a real chilling effect, and that researchers will be less likely to help United improve their security in the future based on its over reaction to Mr. Roberts’s statements.” Roberts, Cardozo said, was still willing to work with United and the rest of the airline industry to improve their security.
Haines, at least, said he is feeling that chill — but expects to continue his research. After all, he has a vested interest in making planes safer: He frequently flies to present at conferences.
You are warned.
Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.