1. All that encrypts hard drives may not be crypto.

    22 February 2008

    Earlier this week the information security community collectively slapped its forehead as computer magazine C't published the results of its security analysis of the the Easy Nova Data Box PRO-25UE RFID, an external hard drive that was advertised as transparently encrypting stored data at the drive level using the AES cryptosystem and a 128-bit key (an algorithm and keysize which the NSA has blessed as worthy of encrypting information carrying a security classification of SECRET or lower, incidentally). A key fob containing an RFID chip is used to unlock the drive and provide access to the encrypted data. Because all …

    Read more...

  2. A touching amount of concern for a presidential candidate.

    21 February 2008

    I haven't been writing about the beginning of the presidential campaign season because I've been busy with other things, but I thought that this should be spread around a bit more widely... Barack Obama's security detail ordered on-duty police officers at a rally in Dallas, Texas to stop searching attendees for weapons as they filed in.

    You read that correctly, the were told to stop looking for weapons. D.W. Lawrence, Deputy Police Chief of Dallas went on the record as saying that the order 'apparently' came down from the US Secret Service because they wanted to "speed up the …

    Read more...

  3. Linux on the Dell Inspiron 1520

    19 February 2008

    Linux distribution successfully used: Gentoo Linux 2007.0

    Currently running kernel: sys-kernel/vanilla-sources v2.6.24.1

    I'll put everything else behind the cut because it'll take up a few pages... Hardware assay

    • CPU: Intel Centrino Duo T7500 running at 2.20GHz x2
    • Memory: 2GB
    • Chipset: Intel ICH8M
    • Video: nVidia GeForce 8400M GS, 256MB video memory on-board. Using the closed-source nVidia drivers from Portage (x11-drivers/nvidia-drivers) with full acceleration. Haven't tried VGA or TV-out yet.
    • SATA: Intel 82801HBM/HEM (ICH8M) chipset, using in-kernel drivers (CONFIG_ATA_PIIX)
    • IDE: Intel 82801HBM/HEM (ICH8M) chipset, using in-kernel drivers (CONFIG_BLK_DEV_PIIX)
    • Ethernet: Broadcom BCM4401-B0, using in-kernel …

    Read more...

  4. Time Lords, like fine wines and Commodore-64's, get better with age.

    18 February 2008

    On Friday the 15th I turned 30.

    I know that I didn't make a big deal out of it, and that wasn't out of any shame or wanting to keep things low-key as it was I've been really busy lately and didn't have time to post about it anywhere. The company I work for has pulled me from fieldwork for at least the next couple of months after what happened in Tuscaloosa. I've been moved to another project much closer to home and I spent all day Friday in the field with my cow-orkers getting stuff set up and running …

    Read more...

  5. Shooter kills six students, self at Northern Illinois University.

    15 February 2008

    For crying out loud... yesterday afternoon around 1500 CST6CDT, a former sociology grad student of Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois dramatically stepped from behind one of the curtains in an ocean sciences lecture hall and opened fire with a shotgun. The gunman is thought to have loosed something like twenty rounds of ammunition, killing six students and wounding another fifteen before turning a weapon upon himself. Students ran for their lives or took cover wherever they could, even behind a transparency projector if it happened to be nearby. Shortly after the carnage began the school went into lockdown - Nexxus6 …

    Read more...

  6. Self-assembling three-dimensional crystals of DNA.

    15 February 2008

    Scientists working in the burgeoning field of nanotechnology at Brookhaven National Laboratory have announced another breakthrough in molecular technology: They figured out how to use DNA to guide the construction of crystals on the molecular scale. It goes a little something like this: Because the nucleotides that link together to create DNA (adenine, thiamine, guanine, and cytosine) have regions with different patterns of electrical charges, individual molecules are attracted to one another and can stick together, rather like complimentary pieces of velcro. Moreover, each nucleotide has more than one region which can create a bond - this is how other parts …

    Read more...

  7. Confiscation and examination of electronics at the border intensifies.

    15 February 2008

    It would appear that the confiscation and analysis of personal electronics at the US border is intensifiying and that people are starting to get up in arms about it. It's more than just laptops that US ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) are spiriting away (for up to two weeks at a time, which defeats the purpose of trying to fly anywhere): Cellular phones are being meddled with and sometimes data is erased (for one reason or another; I tend to lean toward Hanlon's Razor to explain this), corporate laptops are being taken away from travelers unless the log into the …

    Read more...

  8. Insurance company gets spanked for asking doctors to spy for them.

    14 February 2008

    Last week an article broke in the LA TImes that the insurance company Blue Cross of California was asking doctors to report medical conditions to them that could be used as grounds to cancel customers' insurance. It is true that under certain circumstances insurance companies are legally permitted to terminate insurance contracts if the customer doesn't report certain pre-existing medical conditions on the forms, but this particular arm of Blue Cross was fined last year for cutting people left and right from their rolls, to begin with. Since the California Medial Association, the public, and the government of the state …

    Read more...

  9. Codes, ciphers, and Naruto grounds for suspension?

    14 February 2008

    Near the city of Panama City, Florida, 14-year old high school student Dakota Gates has been incarcerated in juvenile detention for 21 days following his arrest because administrators of his school are afraid that he was planning to come to school one day and start shooting the place up. Their reason? A note he wrote in a cipher inspired by an anime series by himself and some of his friends. A 'school resource officer' (I guess that's what they're calling the armed guards these days) found the note, sounded the alarm, and picked out the weird kid of the school …

    Read more...

  10. State of the Time Lord.

    13 February 2008

    Well, I'm mostly up and around these days. I'm writing this from my office at work, after braving the ice storm that's buried DC under sheets and sheets of the slick, shiny, scaly ice that's been causing automobile crashes and knocking out power and traffic lights for the past day or so. It started late on Monday night, I'm given to understand (I'd been to the doctor's office earlier in the day and it was actually pretty nice on Monday afternoon), slacked off a bit yesterday, and then really hit us hard last night. I discovered this during my attempt …

    Read more...

143 / 207