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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Letters Just when you think you know where you are, someone goes and moves the map a few hundred miles to the left, and before you know it, instead of Switzerland, you are in Belarus. Possibly.

Only just saw this article on the Microsoft wizards translocating Mr 50 servers of the Swiss Dept of Foreign Affairs to Russia. While utterly fascinating, my interest was peaked when I saw the Swiss DFAs choice of server location in Australia.

While I am sure it is an extremely interesting place, the Great Sandy Desert is not a place that immediately jumps to mind as an ideal FA server location. Hot, dry and utterly remote from most things even vaguely interesting to the Swiss I would have thought. Of course maybe the MS Wizards translocated a slightly more hospitable part of the world there for the SDFA when they moved part of Switzerland to Russia.

Regards

Angus


That is the most obvious Photoshop job I have seen in a long time.

Jamie


I had a laugh then a cry when reading this.

I have two young kids and the eldest is just starting to use computers at school. They use Microsoft products and I have great trouble warning him that the information in the encyclopedia is not the truth that he assumes it to be.

They should be fined for their encyclopedia and atlas as well as their monopoly! These are very dangerous people for the future of knowledge IMHO.

Tony


I think you misunderstand.

It's not about the Swiss moving to Russia, it's an admission of culpability for the fact that every goddamn Windows box on the face of the earth is owned by a seedy looking guy in Moscow.

"Mr-500-servers-in-156-countries-managed-from-1-location" is obviously a translation of some kind of dreadfully witty Russian hacker nom-de-plume.

Finn


Hi

By the way, did you notice those red "trajectories" remind the sophisticated cineasts among us of a movie starring the (yet) young Mathew Broderick in 1983?

Is it getting even worse - will Swiss servers stationed in Moscow be used to start the apocalyptic world war three? Gosh, W.O.P.R. is still among us! And it gets even worse - it's actually running W2k3! Hopefully they patched it?!

Kind regards,

Mario


I just wanted to point out that the dot on the map isn't in Russia either. The map's pretty small, but as far as I can tell the dot is located well within the bounds of Belorussia (or Belarus or whatever), not all that far from the Polish border. There's something not quite unfitting about Microsoft relocating people to Europe's last dictatorship...

Carl


Next, El Reg, bastion of all things that are good and fine and probably fluffy, too, has been accused of sexism! All for saying that a woman has been appointed to head up the National High Tech Crime Unit in the UK. Interestingly, all the complainants were men.

What's this headline about then? Honestly, a woman in a high powered position is no longer news! If the new head had been male would the headline have been "Man to lead UK fight against cybercrime"? I suspect not.

Geoff


"Woman to lead UK fight against cybercrime"? Sheesh John, you and your editor have really exposed your Neanderthal underbellies with a headline like that. It's about as newsworthy as "Techie bloke writes sexist headline"!

Alun

Well, much as we appreciate the sentiment, the reasoning went like this: Only two Fortune 500 companies have women CEOs or presidents, and 90 of the 500 don't have any women at all in their top level executive ranks. In IT, women are significantly under-represented, especially at senior levels. There are also fewer women than men who hold senior rank in the police. Given all that, you really don't think it is worth mentioning when a woman police officer is appointed to head up a high tech crime unit?

We'll go back to our Neanderthal underbellies now. They're good with BBQ sauce.


Next, we turn our attention to the browser bugfest that sprang upon us this week, prompting a flurry of patching activity. Reporting straight from the frontline:

Gotta love open source...

Read about it ten minutes ago... Patched five minutes ago.... Passed Secunia's test based on POC code on flaw discovered by Azafran one minute ago!

Name withheld (for no reason we can discern)


Re: the Firefox Javascript flaw.

The quickest and most easy way to fix this (until a new update for Firefox is released) is to go to the Tools menu, select Options, click on the Web Features section and uncheck Javascript.

Do this, go to this site

http://secunia.com/mozilla_products_arbitrary_memory_exposure_test/

run the test, and well, nothing should happen.

With javascript enabled you'd get a bunch of useless data appear in the big box. I suppose the possibility exists for something important to appear, but I've tested this having recently visited a few financial websites, and nothing of any consequence would appear no matter how many times I got the test to read various chunks of my memory.

Just as "security" companies who want to get into the media release information about "critical" flaws in IE, which actually are totally harmless unless the user is stupid enough to jump off a cliff (did your parents ever use the line "well if he'd jumped off a cliff would you do that too?"), it appears this is another "security" company that's hoping to make a name for itself by over exaggerating a mostly harmless flaw that was first discovered about 8-9 years ago.

But anyway, it's easy to resolve, so happy javascriptless web browsing (what is javascript used for again? anyone?)

Andy Bright


The hills are alive with the sound of downloads:

Movie downloads will be a big business... but for whom?

And WHY?

Are so many people so lazy?

Oh, dumb question.

Tim


"But unless you have a huge amount of film content, virtually every film that enjoyed widespread distribution throughout the last 25 years, a service will not become the natural home of film buffs."

25 years? Try a hundred. I want to see film noir. I want to see the shorts subjects from the Lumiere Brothers.

Of course, the older the material, the more likely it's no longer under copyright, and thus the less likely there would be a profit motive for the original producer. On the other hand, copyright-free material would be a great advantage to the *distributor* of the material (no additional parties to share the profits with), if they're a separate entity from the original producer.

Also, restoration efforts can be copyrighted on public-domain material; perhaps a solid video-on-demand service will increase the profitability of restoration efforts, and thus increase the availability of old, essentially lost films.

Paul


Sony wins the prize for the daftest patent ever to be awarded, with its ultrasonic-tranducer-brain-manipulating day-dream. We figured, if Sony can patent a totally imaginary device, so can we. But we've been pipped to the post:

Hi,

>Suitably inspired, we're off down the patent office to lay claim to the warp engine, tricorder, and transporter.

I feel you may be a little late on those. Firstly, Vital Technologies has the patent on the Tricoder, having manufactured them (available for a mere $500). The transporter is in development (albeit currently only able to teleport atoms), thus I feel a patent has been applied for somewhere, and you'll find Stephen Hawking has publicly bagsied the Warp Drive.

I'd go for the holodeck... that nobody knows how to do (yet - it involves photons and force fields...).

</sad star trek geek>

Richard


Re: Sony patents brain controller

"Suitably inspired, we're off down the patent office to lay claim to the warp engine, tricorder, and transporter. We'd get more, but we expect George Lucas has already called dibs on the light-sabre and the death star"

And I'm off to patent Dr. Who's sonic screwdriver, Daleks and Zen from Blake's 7.

Andrew


If Lucas tries to patent the light-saber, I would expect several geeks to come out of the woodwork (well, convincing at ten paces laminate-work) brandishing the prior art, from "Wolfling" a serial that ran in Analog magazine in the mid 1960's.

Mike


Other than as a repository for the thoughts of people with too much time on their hands; is there a point to the US Patent Office?

And anyway. I have prior art to this nonsense. When I was 5 I wrote a story about a wizard whose singing was so "beautiful" it gave everyone who listened to him feelings of well-being and peace. His songs "smelt of Vanilla" (and cherries, and sick ... I'll leave out the rest, in case you print this and the Fox rob it for the next series of 24) ...

I want it scrapped now - F'ing big corporations robbing my ideas; and exporting them to another country! Just WTF is going on?!

Jesus Wept: They'll be patenting robotic-creatures for driving around uninhabited planets next. Bastards!

Andy


Lastly, there is just a single day to go before Chuck and Milly tie the knot. But this is not the event you lot want to view by webcam:

Who cares? Honestly, what I really want is a Vaticam trained on that chimney in Italy.

Phippo the Hippo

Whatever gets you through the week, Phippo.


We'll be back on Tuesday with observations both insipid and insightful from the El Reg postbag. Have a good weekend. ®

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