Thursday, January 12, 2017

Virtual Reality SNAFU

Virtual Reality SNAFU

This was so funny, I couldn't resist putting it in the blog.  Some day in the distant future, I'll come across this post, and it will make me laugh all over again.

Have you ever stood in front of your bathroom mirror and then placed another mirror behind you?  What you get is a seemingly endless stream of identical images.

Apparently, a 6-year old girl in Dallas Texas asked her "Alexa" to play dollhouse with her.  Sweet, isn't it?  Well, Alexa ended up ordering an expensive dollhouse and one other weird item from Amazon!

This, of course, was not the intended response, so the child's parents reported this to their local news outlet.  When the news outlet reported the story, several Alexa owners who were tuned into the news broadcast reported that their Alexa units overheard the TV and responded by ordering the same dollhouse!

Friday, January 06, 2017

FUD - the enemy of reason

FUD - the enemy of reason

This entire election cycle, and its aftermath, has been tainted by FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt).  The US intelligence apparatus has gone out of its way in attempting to "prove" that Russia was behind the hacks of the the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and have concluded that may have indirectly resulted in a Trump win.

Let me start by saying that I am not privy to the complete information in the hands of the intelligence community.  However, I am involved in computer security as a profession, and some of the claims I've been hearing about the "proof" are laughable.  Some of the "evidence" in their possession has been made public.  No doubt, more will be made public in due course to help shore up their conclusions.

Based on what has been released to the public, here's what can be said:

  1. The software used to "hack" the DNC was written by a hacker in the Ukraine (the Ukraine is *not* Russia).
  2. The software was written several years ago and is an old variant that has been circulating for years in the open market - i.e. you can go online and get this software yourself - it is *not* the product of a spy agency
  3. The IP addresses identified by the intelligence community as being the "attack points" are not Russian
  4. Claims that a Vermont power station was infected by this virus turned out to be untrue, and were reported as being untrue in a recent news release

As further "proof" that the Russians were involved, news reports today reported that the Russians were overheard "celebrating" Trump's victory.  Well, I imagine that people in Israel are also celebrating the victory.  Does that make them responsible for Clinton losing the election?

Let me be clear... since I don't have all the information available to the intelligence community, I cannot say with absolute certainty that Russia did *not* have anything to do with the hacking.  All I can say is that the evidence released thus far does not prove Russia's involvement.

Information for this post came from a series of articles on the WordFence blog.