Archive for the 'Security' Category

Ground Tackle—Emergency Gear

Just curious, how many of my readers consider a good anchor an important piece of emergency safety gear? There was a recent story about two boaters who were rescued after their boat ran out of fuel and was forced by seas and wind on to the rocky shore. Now, it seems to me that if […]

Identity Theft

I recently saw an ad on TV for a company that says they can protect you from “identity theft”. Identity, by definition, can not be stolen. Identity can be defined as: the condition of being oneself or itself, and not another. While someone can pretend to be you…they can not actually be you. Granted, if […]

Social Networking Sites and Identity Theft

As I am a member of some social networking sites and have a fairly high on-line presence, I thought I’d write a bit about security and social network sites. A lot of social networking sites, like Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and such have a fair amount of personal information about anyone who is a member. This […]

The SPOT Messenger

( cruising andSailing andSecurity andTech )

This past Christmas, I received a SPOT Messenger. I didn’t activate it until just recently, when I was helping deliver a sailboat from Annapolis to Marion, Mass. The reason I decided to activate the SPOT service was so that several of the families and friends of two of my fellow delivery crew would be able […]

Drunk Driving and Personal Breathalyzers

( News andSecurity andStupidity andTech )

Recently, some companies have come out with personal breathalyzers. People are supposed to buy these small, portable, battery-powered devices so they can find out whether they’ve had too much to drink or not. Will using a personal portable breathalyzer help reduce drunk driving? No, I actually think it may make things worse. Personally, I think […]

Florida to Shift Voting to Paper Trail

( News andPolitics andSecurity )

Apparently, Florida’s new governor, Charlie Crist, has seen the light. He has mandated that the state move away from the touch-screen electronic voting machines, to ones that have a paper audit trail. In this New York Times article, several counties, including Cuyahoga County, Ohio, and Sarasota County, Florida, were already in the process of moving away from the controversial machines.

Crist hopes to have the entire state of Florida moved over to the new machines in time for the 2008 elections. The sad part is that many of the changes that they are now just implemented I had discussed two years ago. The new machines are based on a paper ballot and optical scanning, with the paper ballot retained for use as an audit trail.

Originally, in February of 2005, I wrote about the problems with the touch-screen voting machines, as well as a possible solution to the problem.

Transportation in Massachusetts

Jason over at Pelican in Her Piety has pointed out two excellent editorials in the Boston Globe. The first is on the right to privacy and the right to public safety and the recent policy of swabbing and searching bags on the MBTA. The second is on the Mass Turnpike Authority’s recent decision to lift […]

Again More E-voting Problems

( News andPolitics andSecurity andTech )

According to this Freedom to Tinker blog article, a month ago, Princeton University released a paper describing how the Diebold electronic voting machines could be infected by a computer virus that could alter the vote tallies via their memory card. According to Edward Felten, Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs at Princeton University, “Diebold […]

More E-voting Problems

( News andPolitics andSecurity )

Recently, two articles have pointed out problems with the electronic voting machines in Florida and Texas. In both stories the problems reported machines recording GOP votes when people actually had voted for the Democratic candidate. It is interesting that neither story reports which company manufactured the electronic voting machines having the problems. It is also […]

The War On Moisture Has Casualties

( News andSecurity andThoughts )

In an article from today’s New Zealand Herald, we see that the “War on Moisture” has claimed at least one casualty. A diabetic man fell into a coma because he wasn’t allowed to bring his insulin aboard the plane. Mr. Tui Peter Russell started feeling ill on the flight, and when he spoke to the […]

More Diebold Problems

Apparently, Diebold has issued a quiet recall on the motherboards in their insecure electronic voting machines. This article from the freedom to tinker blog has the details. One interesting detail in the story is that according to a Diebold internal memo, the flaw was known in March of 2004, and yet Diebold allowed the faulty […]

Why I Love Doonesbury

One of my favorite comic strips to read is Doonesbury. Garry Trudeau has been drawing this strip forever, and what I love about it is the strong political sensibilities he has. Today’s comic is a prime example of this. The political blustering and fear-mongering used by the Republicans should be overshadowed by their lack of […]

More Diebold E-Voting Problems

( Politics andSecurity andTech )

On the Freedom to Tinker blog, there is an article discussing the Diebold electronic voting machines. Apparently, the keys to many hotel minibars are capable of opening the Diebold voting machines. The access panel that these keys open allows access to the memory card, which can be used to alter the votes recorded by the […]

The Wrong Approach to Security

( News andPolitics andSecurity andStupidity andTech ) has an interesting article on the controversy created by Christopher Soghoian, a security researcher, who had created a website application that allowed one to generate authentic looking, but completely bogus, Northwest Airline Boarding Passes. He created the application in hopes of getting Congress to take a real look at the security vulnerabilities of the […]

More RFID Insecurity

( News andSecurity andStupidity andTech )

The New York Times has a good article on how easy it is to hack some of the new “touchless” RFID-based credit cards. My favorite quote from the article: And because the cards can be read even through a wallet or an item of clothing, the security of the information, the researchers say, is startlingly […]

September 11

Paris Parfait has an excellent entry for today. It truly expresses the difference between being an American and the American government—which has abused the tragedy of this day to hold on to political and economic power for itself. My thanks to Erin for the link. From Paris Parfait’s post: No words adequate to describe the […]

Woo & Hunter’s Wedding: Part 1—The Joys of Air Travel

Today, I’m writing this post from my hotel room, down in Newport News, Virginia. I flew down this evening for a wedding tomorrow. I’m due to fly back on Sunday morning. The problem with air travel, aside from the security issues, is that trying to do so during the hurricane season can be challenging. Yesterday, […]

What is Terrorism?

Define: Terrorism This is the definition according to Wikipedia. Terrorism is the systematic use or threatened use of violence to intimidate a population or government and thereby effect political, religious, or ideological change.[1][2] Terrorist attacks are designed to influence the broader society to which those killed, injured, or taken hostage belong. The dramatic focus of […]

Government Gone Amuck

“Law and justice are not always the same. When they aren’t, destroying the law may be the first step toward changing it.” —Gloria Steinem This was the quote of the day today, and somehow it seems very appropriate given some of the recent stories I’ve been reading. I’ve noticed a very disturbing trend in the […]

WordPress Upgrade

( Security andTech )

WordPress has just been updated.  The new version, 2.04, is a security release, and has over 50 bug fixes.  You can get it at

Celebrating Death

I think that it is a sad sign when a society celebrates the death of a person. Even a person as sociopathic as Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a human being. This is not to say that he should not have been brought to justice, as I firmly believe in justice. Al-Zarqawi was responsible for the […]

Phishing E-mails

( Security andTech )

My previous post on the pharming scam attempt on one of the more popular sailing on-line forums led me to write about another common way to get ripped off. One common phishing technique used by today’s criminals is the faked e-mail. Here is a good example of one, posted as JPG image. Things to look […]

Web-based Scam Targeting Sailors

This post mixes two of my favorite topics: computer security and sailing. On one of the many sailing boards I visit, there was a posting for crew positions on the Team Compass Point boat for the 2006 Sydney-Hobart and Gosford-Lord Howe Island Races. I was curious about this, so I requested the information—sending them an […]

More Miscellany

More short entries about recent news worth looking at. More Political Corruption A recent New York Times article mentions that a former governor of Illinois, Republican George Ryan, has been convicted of all charges in a federal corruption case. The administrations of several Illinois Democrats, including Governor Rod Blagojevich and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley are […]

Not All Americans

Not all Americans believe that what the American government has done is right. Some Americans are very much against the War in Iraq. Many are against the actions of the Bush regme, and believe that what the Bush regime has done in the name of national security has very little to do with actual security […]

News Roundup

This is a roundup of various small news articles I’d just like to highlight. Vermont Calls for Bush Impeachment According to this Yahoo News article, the state government of Vermont, which is highly Democratic, passed a motion asking Congress to open impeachment proceedings against George W. Bush. This is probably a good idea, as what […]

What is the Threat?

Over at the Irregular Times, they’ve got an article called What is the Threat? It is a good question, and I’ve actually mentioned this idea previously on my blog. You can see the two stories here, and here. It really depends on how you define Security. From the Oxford Dictionary: security |siˈkyoŏritē| noun ( pl. […]

Gateway and Customer dis’ Service

( Rants andSecurity andTech )

I was reading a post over at Cavemonkey50 technology blog. It was about bad customer service from Gateway computers. I’m really not surprised. I had a run-in with the quality of their customer service a few years ago—I’ve posted the story here again, from my website archives. Customer Disservice Saturday, December 13th, I spent the […]

More Republican Idiocy

Apparently, the Bush regime, the Republican Party and their supporters don’t have any idea of what is ethical or moral behavior. The party of the Moral Majority seems to have no bounds to the depths of unethical and stupid behaviour that they will stoop. Telemarketing Firm Official Indicted in Phone Jamming Case It isn’t enough […]

Some More Miscellany

Here are a collection of stories from recent news. The stories include security scares in Florida and Pennsylvania , pre-emptive law enforcement in Texas, more NSA civil rights violations, Ohio town stupidity, and more Bush corruption. Domestic Terror Scares In Pittsburgh, PA, a local worker caused a terrorism scare. A two-hour long disruption was caused […]