Spy Satellites

By Justin McOmie at 11:58 pm on February 17, 2008 | 3 Comments

Spy satellites will be used by local law enforcement to enforce the laws against United States citizens. Should this make us feel safer or more scared of our government?

On the one hand I expect any government to use the most sophisticated equipment it has available in the pursuit of law enforcement, but on the other, the more sophisticated the equipment gets the more difficult it will be for proper oversight to exist, and the tendency is increased (perhaps inadvertantly) that the tools will be used for nefarious purposes.

A lack of oversight has the potential to lead to disastrous results. The brouhaha that occurred over the warrantless wiretapping could be just a hint of what’s to come if programs such as this gain more ground.
When news of this type comes out I get an ominous feeling of “ickiness” about the fact that we have less and less implicit privacy (that being the general privacy to do things like walk outside into your fenced yard without risk of wanton surveillance). But at the same time I have a hard time determining where exactly the line is being crossed.

Can someone help determine where (if at all) a problem exists? Does it lie in the fact that the Federal government is using instruments of national security for issues that should be locally controlled? The Slashdot comments section has a lot of alarmist comments (including the ubiquitous “omg 1984” kind), but I’m not certain how a line is being crossed.

Source: http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/02/13/2331224&from=rss

Filed under: Miscellaneous,Privacy3 Comments »

Security Review: Blogging at the Olympic Games

By Justin McOmie at 11:52 pm on | 1 Comment

The International Olympic Committee will be granting Olympic athletes the right to blog at this year’s summer games in China, and there will be a few interesting restrictions placed on what they can say. In addition to the standard laws all bloggers have to conform to (copyright, etc) the athletes are prohibited from posting photographs of events, and from writing about other athletes, as well as from writing about anything that “may compromise the security, staging and organization of the games”. I’m going to examine the motives of the committee in putting these restrictions in place as they may pertain to security, ignoring issues like intellectual property for now.

(Read on …)

Filed under: Security Reviews1 Comment »

Amazon’s S3 Outage: Usage spike or DDoS attack?

By iddav at 10:50 pm on Comments Off on Amazon’s S3 Outage: Usage spike or DDoS attack?

Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3) experienced an outage on the morning of February 15th, causing inaccessible content in the thousands of websites that rely on S3 for data storage. According to Amazon’s official explanation, the outage was due to a significantly increased volume of authenticated calls from multiple users. From the security perspective, this leads to more questions than answers.

(Read on …)

Filed under: Availability,Current EventsComments Off on Amazon’s S3 Outage: Usage spike or DDoS attack?

Security Review: ASIMO Robot

By felixctc at 6:49 pm on Comments Off on Security Review: ASIMO Robot

ASIMO is a robot that resembles a human that is created by Honda Motor Company. It was created at the Wako Fundamental Technical Research Center in Japan. The current version of this robot is version eleven. This robot, which is about four feet tall, looks like an astronaut wearing a backpack and it can walk and run on two feet. In addition, there are various features that ASIMO can perform. For example, it can recognize moving objects, postures and gestures, and environments. Therefore, it can react under various situations. In addition, ASIMO has facial recognition capabilities and distinguish sounds. It can also find information such as weather report by connecting to the Internet or greet and guide visitors given that they are valid visitors in the user’s network. Assuming ASIMO robots will be able to work as security guards in the future, here is the security review for the robot.
(Read on …)

Filed under: Miscellaneous,Physical Security,Security ReviewsComments Off on Security Review: ASIMO Robot

Microsoft bad practices

By imv at 2:42 am on | 2 Comments

Given all the Microsoft-bashing that takes place among Linux-users, I’m surprised that no one has posted an article (that I’ve seen, at least) that clearly has an anti-Microsoft bias. Despite the bias of the following article, it makes a valid argument that Microsoft should adopt some C-variant that is more safe with regards to buffer-overflows, which are still the “bread and butter” (according to the article) of malware-authors.  The author definitely overestimates the amount of time required by a user to maintain a reasonably secure and patched system. That said, the author makes a valid point: it is the algorithm, not the language, that dictates the overall speed of an OS – hence a “safe” language would be a better choice. Unix worked fine on hardware 20+ years ago, so there is no reason Windows should not be both secure and speedy on today’s hardware.  Windows/ze-bashers, indulge.

Filed under: Policy2 Comments »

Smart Pillbox Security Review

By Fabian at 2:38 am on | 1 Comment

“Smart pillbox could be a lifesaver” that is the title on the recent news in MIT in the world. It is design to be used by elderly people so they can properly take their medication. The purpose will be to enforce the prescribe regimen to prevent drug-resistance disease and to prolong life. It might also prevent the unnecessary loss of life due to a miss of daily regiment.
Elderly people are the main target for this device, because they can be in the situation where they need to take a series of medication, like more than ten drugs. This project consists of two systems, uBox for the patient and uPhone for the health care worker. The uBox will alert the patient for his/her daily regiment by flashing lights and sound a buzzer. In addition, it will also record the time and other data which can be retrieved by the health care workers. The uBox has 14 chambers for the medication, each of which will be filled with prescription drug by the health care workers. On the other hand, the uPhone is to let the health care worker to track patient progress and retrieves the related data from the uBox.
However, smart pillbox is not only developed at MIT, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee also been trying to develop it. The difference lies on their dispenser unit which can communicate with the medical staff via the web. The purpose of the smart pillbox is the same, which is to ensure adherence in taking medication.

(Read on …)

Filed under: Security Reviews1 Comment »