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The politics of chemical security

The Next Attack. "Terrorists in Iraq are becoming proficient at blowing up oil refineries. Similar plants in a handful of American cities represent our greatest vulnerability. We could easily be making them less dangerous. But we’re not." And one of the key players in keeping things that way happens to be Dick Cheney’s son-in-law.
posted by homunculus on Mar 1, 2007 - 38 comments

Now for some actual Bruce Schneier facts

You know Bruce Schneier the polymath security genius. Now meet Bruce Schneier the kind-hearted reviewer of local Minnesota restaurants. (He doesn't like to give bad reviews -- sounds like "security through obscurity" to me!)
[previously, also]
posted by grobstein on Feb 13, 2007 - 15 comments

Psychology of Security

The Psychology of Security. An essay by Bruce Schneier on the difference between the feeling of security and the reality of security. [Via MindHacks.]
posted by homunculus on Feb 8, 2007 - 25 comments

"To get threat from unknown side whether al Jehad battalion or others!"

“Oh, I took the roofs road" --just one of the fascinating things at a new Iraq blog--Inside Iraq-- daily life in a war zone through the words of Iraqi journalists in McClatchy's Baghdad Bureau as they risk so much each day to survive. These are unedited first hand accounts of their experiences. Their complete names have been withheld for security reasons.
posted by amberglow on Jan 17, 2007 - 9 comments

"A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection"

"[C]omputer design is being dictated not by electronic design rules, physical layout requirements, and thermal issues, but by the wishes of the content industry." By deliberately breaking audio and video functionality, opening up new avenues for debilitating malware, and reversing performance gains in desktop PCs and third-party components, Peter Gutmann argues "the Vista Content Protection specification could very well constitute the longest suicide note in history."
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Dec 23, 2006 - 132 comments

End of the 109th session

I'm an amendment to be - Yes an amendment to be. And I'm hoping that they'll ratify me. With political pressure towards signing bills becoming more relevant in the Rovian era of politics (example), will we see a shift in Congressional jurisprudence on issues such as Social Security, The War in Iraq (nytimes op-ed reg req), Ethics in the 110th? Perhaps Public Perception has a lot to do with it. Of course, some loopholes couldn't hurt.
posted by stratastar on Dec 12, 2006 - 16 comments

Oh, I wish we had the image tag again...

Bare naked travel? (Previously on MeFi: here, except now they're actually doing it, and here). The TSA wants to see you naked. Just don't paint "Kip Hawley Is An Idiot" on your torso in Pepto-Bismol before you go to the airport.
posted by bitter-girl.com on Dec 3, 2006 - 51 comments

Want another ID?

New "Hi - tech" passport cracked. Standards for the new passports were set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in 2003 and adopted by the waiver countries and the US. The UK Home Office has adopted a very high encryption technology called 3DES - that is, to a military-level data-encryption standard times three. However they used non-secret information actually published in the passport to create a 'secret key'. That is the equivalent of installing a solid steel front door to your house and then putting the key under the mat.
posted by adamvasco on Nov 17, 2006 - 53 comments

This won't hurt, it's for your own good.

Fingerprinting school kids for lunch. Several schools in California will require students to scan their fingerprints before getting their school lunch to help speed up cafeteria lines. Don't worry about it, it's already being done in Georgia while Florida has a similar system which also lets parents check to see what their kids bought for lunch. Arizona doesn't do fingerprints, it just has the kids enter a number for their meals. New Jersey has Iris Scanning.

Hopefully all of this information was gained through parental consent.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Nov 5, 2006 - 38 comments

Not that Miguel, sorry!

High Security Fashion
Miguel Caballero is walking around his company's showroom in Bogotá, Colombia, holding a .38-caliber revolver. "You!" he says, pointing to German Gonzalez, a 20-something salesman who's been on the job for just two weeks. "You're next."
The latest in boardroom insanity? Nah, Miguel Caballero makes high fashion bulletproof clothes for presidents, state leaders and gangsta rappers and enjoys demonstrating how effective they are at stopping pistol fire at point blank range.

Its Armani-style combined with highly effective personal protection.
posted by fenriq on Oct 31, 2006 - 15 comments

Self Linking Considered Harmful

CSRF (Cross Site Request Forgery) is starting to become a real issue for many web forums. While the vulnerability has been around for a while, recently it has become more interesting. Luckily the policy against against self linking and some recent fixes should protect readers here.
posted by mock on Oct 22, 2006 - 69 comments

"Kip Hawley is an Idiot"

"Kip Hawley is an Idiot". Careful what you say about the Director of the TSA when you're waiting to pass airport security.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese on Oct 2, 2006 - 208 comments

Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine

Security Analysis of the Diebold AccuVote-TS Voting Machine. These voting machines are even more broken than you think. Ars Technia has posted nice summary of this article. The research was done in part by Professor Ed Felten who writes for the Freedom to Tinker web site, which is well worth reading.
posted by chunking express on Sep 14, 2006 - 50 comments

Security is for Suckers

The Best Hiding Place is Right Out in the Open?
Yes, its a simple Google search. But it returns confidential pdf's and pages from all over the internet. Business plans, powerpoint presentations and other naughty bits exposed to, well, anyone who finds it.
Oops.
posted by fenriq on Sep 6, 2006 - 49 comments

My analysis of this is somewhat tongue in cheek, please don't flame.

The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has called for a purge of liberal and secular teachers from the country's universities. Now that this former rogue nation has fallen in line, we can turn out attention to the real terrorist threat: Britain.
posted by thirteenkiller on Sep 5, 2006 - 30 comments

It's time to nominate three years worth of security idiocy

It's the Privacy International Stupid Security Competition 2006. Human rights group Privacy International (who also hand out annual Big Brother awards have launched the 2006 Stupid Security Competition. Following on from 2003's awards (also here) where everyone from T Mobile UK, the Australian Government to Philadelphia International Airport won with displays of idiocy, what will the results of the past three years of press and government hyperbole and lies, amongst many other things bring?
posted by TheDonF on Aug 28, 2006 - 7 comments

Will somebody think of the violins?

New airline security regulations in the UK have taken their toll on the touring musicians who used to be able to take their delicate and/or rare instruments as carry-on luggage. Many are forced to either take their chances in the cargo hold or take ferries to countries with less restrictive security guidelines. Others contemplate staying home from touring completely. (via BBC)
posted by dr_dank on Aug 22, 2006 - 40 comments

Someone set up us the bomb

[ConspiracyFilter] Was the alleged "binary liquid explosives" plot actually plausible, in the sense of being capable of producing "mass murder on an unimaginable scale?"
posted by ijoshua on Aug 17, 2006 - 138 comments

"Watch what you say, what you do..."

Recipients of "Leaks" May Be Prosecuted, Court Rules In a momentous expansion of the government's authority to regulate public disclosure of national security information, a federal court ruled that even private citizens who do not hold security clearances can be prosecuted for unauthorized receipt and disclosure of classified information. The ruling by Judge T.S. Ellis, III, denied a motion to dismiss the case of two former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) who were charged under the Espionage Act with illegally receiving and transmitting classified information. The decision is a major interpretation of the Espionage Act with implications that extend far beyond this particular case. The Judge ruled that any First Amendment concerns regarding freedom of speech involving national defense information can be superseded by national security considerations.
posted by Unregistered User on Aug 10, 2006 - 28 comments

Down wid da DRM! PSA via Eris!

Platform Security It’s time for a helpful primer on platform security. Also, our good friends at MoFi want to remind you: don’t buy anyone’s C.R.A.P. Always sound advice, except for you coprophiliacs out there. You guys are on your own.
posted by Unregistered User on Jul 31, 2006 - 10 comments

Crimes of Aspiration

Gov't Break a Law? Change It The White House is nearing an agreement with Congress on legislation that would write President Bush's warrantless surveillance program into law, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said Sunday.
posted by Unregistered User on Jun 26, 2006 - 34 comments

Wired-tapped

Crashing the Wiretapper's Ball Wired News snuck a reporter into the ISS World Conference, a no-press-allowed conference for companies that sell wiretapping equipment to law enforcement, ISPs, telcos, and repressive governments. Hilarity ensues. via
posted by pithy comment on Jun 1, 2006 - 21 comments

Think things better before Bush?

Forty men and one woman went to prison for sedition in Montana Seems that we make faulty assumptions about how we have protection and rights in our democracy, and that things used to be much better than they now are...not so. A big difference, though, is that now our Big Brothers have technology to help snare misbehaving citizens.
posted by Postroad on May 3, 2006 - 38 comments

Mac OS/X, Safari Security Threats on the Rise

Safari is added to the spring 2006 update of the SANS Top Twenty Internet Security Vulnerabilities, following its last update in the fall which for the first time added OS/X to the list. OS/X saw its first zero-day exploit this year, there are at least seven new vulnerabilities waiting for a patch, and everyone is starting to notice. Do you still think your Mac is bulletproof?
posted by poppo on May 3, 2006 - 92 comments

All such matters will be taken seriously.

Making any jokes or statements during the screening process may be grounds for both criminal and civil penalties.
posted by quonsar on Apr 24, 2006 - 73 comments

Movie plot threats

Security expert (and personal hero) Bruce Schneier on the subject of movie plot threats : Sometimes it seems like the people in charge of homeland security spend too much time watching action movies. They defend against specific movie plots instead of against the broad threats of terrorism.

This month, Schneier announces a contest for readers of his blog and newsletter - submit the most unlikely, yet still plausible, terrorist attack scenarios you can come up with.

From the announcement : "The prize will be an autographed copy of Beyond Fear. And if I can swing it, a phone call with a real live movie producer."
posted by Afroblanco on Apr 8, 2006 - 31 comments

Emirates Aided Kin of Palestinian Militants

Emirates Aided Kin of Palestinian Militants The American people, for reasons of possible anti-Arab feelings, made it clear that the Arab Emirates were not to gain control over our ports, despite the statements from the White House that this group is our friend and a partner in the fight against terrorism. Despite our 'friendship," there is now this evidence to the contrary. But will this news be sufficient to prevent Dubai's $1.2 Bln Bid for U.S. Weapons Maker ?
posted by Postroad on Mar 20, 2006 - 31 comments

premptive strike as last resort

The National Security Strategy of the United States of America The new(ish), policy statement from the US govt. News stories: The Times, US News & World Report, Bloomberg, BBC (newsfilter +)
posted by edgeways on Mar 16, 2006 - 42 comments

Exclusive: Dubai ports firm enforces Israel boycott

Exclusive: Dubai ports firm enforces Israel boycott [Defenders of the Bush/Dubai deal argue that we ought to be fair and not be racist in being anti-Arab...that is "un-American."] "The parent company of a Dubai-based firm at the center of a political storm in the US over the purchase of American ports participates in the Arab boycott against Israel, The Jerusalem Post has learned.....Moreover, the Post found that the website for Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone Area, which is also part of the PCZC, advises importers that they will need to comply with the terms of the boycott....
posted by Postroad on Feb 28, 2006 - 61 comments

There's some sort of karmic justice here.

"To tell the truth ... I'm sorta surprised they haven't caught me yet," The Washington Post ran an interesting interview with a botmaster, a young man who made serveral thousands of dollars a month installing XXX spyware on machines that he controlled. He installed the software on the machines of people he did not know by hacking into them remotely. The lenghty article included a partial photo of the botmaster along with vauge descriptions of the small midwestern town where the man lives, and was published with the understanding that the man's identity would be kept secret. Someone should have told that to the person that manages photos at the Washington Post. An estute reader over at Slashdot was able to locate some extra information stored in the picture's metadata including the photographer and the location the picture was taken, Roland, Oklahoma, a town of less than 3000 people. Whoops.
posted by daHIFI on Feb 21, 2006 - 56 comments

Top 12 media myths and falsehoods on the Bush administration's spying scandal

Top 12 media myths and falsehoods on the Bush administration's spying scandal Summary: Media Matters presents the top 12 myths and falsehoods promoted by the media on President Bush's spying scandal stemming from the recent revelation in The New York Times that he authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to eavesdrop on domestic communications without the required approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court.
posted by Postroad on Feb 10, 2006 - 12 comments

FTC imposes $10M fine against ChoicePoint for data breach

FTC imposes $10M fine against ChoicePoint for data breach The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has fined ChoicePoint $10 million for a data breach that allowed identity thieves posing as legitimate businesses to steal social security numbers, credit reports, and other data from nearly 140,000 people. This is the largest fine ever levied by the FTC. ChoicePoint also has to set up a 'trust fund' for people victimized by identity thieves. From the article: 'As part of its agreement with the FTC, ChoicePoint will also have to submit to comprehensive security audits every two years for the next 20 years.'" BusinessWeek has additional info. Perhaps there might be hope for individual privacy after all. Let's all keep our fingers crossed.
posted by mk1gti on Jan 26, 2006 - 22 comments

Fly in the Fast Lane

Tired of standing in line at the airport? Worried that you might share a name with a known terrorist or subversive on the TSA's mysterious no-fly lists? Relax. Get fingerprinted and/or iris scanned. And pay $79.95 a year to become a Registered Traveler, and fly Clear in the fast lane. (And note how quickly conceptual art projects become indistinguishable from reality.) Meanwhile, the Feds settle an ACLU lawsuit over the no-fly lists... while revealing no information about them. [Lists recently discussed here].
posted by digaman on Jan 25, 2006 - 52 comments

HAVA has forced us to purchase systems that in my opinion are not appropriate for citizens to be voting on

E-voting systems hacker sees ‘particularly bad’ security issues ...On Tuesday, Dec. 13, we conducted a hack of the Diebold AccuVote optical scan device. I wrote a five-line script in Visual Basic that would allow you to go into the central tabulator and change any vote total you wanted, leaving no logs.... More from the Washington Post here, where ... Four times over the past year Sancho told computer specialists to break in to his voting system. And on all four occasions they did, changing results with what the specialists described as relatively unsophisticated hacking techniques. ..."Can the votes of this Diebold system be hacked using the memory card?" Two people marked yes on their ballots, and six no. The optical scan machine read the ballots, and the data were transmitted to a final tabulator. The result? Seven yes, one no. ... Verified Voting and Black Box Voting have much much more on all of this.
posted by amberglow on Jan 23, 2006 - 58 comments

THIS MEANS WAAAAR!!

A revolution is the solution We talked about how Ebaum's World sucks before in the Blue, but it's looks like things have been taken a step futher with Eric Bauman's latest theft of an animated GIF of Lindsey Lohan. While script kiddies have already been concentrating on wiping Ebaum's World off the net completely, the latest swipe from ytmnd.com (NSFW?) has caused a 'massive' DoS war against Bauman as this wonderful writeup from Vitalsecurity.org explains.
posted by daHIFI on Jan 9, 2006 - 59 comments

Mohan also declined to say how often or in what volume CBP might be opening mail.

Private Mail--Not. ...Goodman, an 81-year-old retired University of Kansas history professor, received a letter from his friend in the Philippines that had been opened and resealed with a strip of dark green tape bearing the words “by Border Protection” and carrying the official Homeland Security seal. ...the agency can, will and does open mail coming to U.S. citizens that originates from a foreign country whenever it’s deemed necessary. ...
posted by amberglow on Jan 6, 2006 - 54 comments

The Increasingly Unfriendly Skies

Is your name James Moore? If so, you may be a terrorist. Or at least the NSA thinks so, having added that name -- which also happens to be the name of the author of Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential -- to its mysteriously targeted and infamously mismanaged "No-Fly" list [previously discussed here.]
posted by digaman on Jan 5, 2006 - 51 comments

Homeland Security visit a hoax. Students do the funniest things.

America seems a little less evil today. The outrage and indignation expressed in a previous MeFi story was unjustified. The Department of Homeland Security did not visit a student after he made an interlibrary request for Mao Tse-Tung's Little Red Book. The student made it all up.
posted by Meridian on Dec 24, 2005 - 53 comments

Because there just haven't been enough government scandals lately...

Federal surveillance of over a hundred homes, businesses, mosques, warehouses and other sites has been conducted without warrants, according to a new USNews report. Indications are that the persons so targeted were US citizens. "In numerous cases, the monitoring required investigators to go on to the property under surveillance, although no search warrants or court orders were ever obtained, according to those with knowledge of the program. Some participants were threatened with loss of their jobs when they questioned the legality of the operation, according to these accounts."
posted by darkstar on Dec 23, 2005 - 131 comments

Echelon: 60 Minutes discussion

Echelon This is what we know--or do not know--about NSA prgram called Echelon, from 60 Minute show (TV) in 2000. If we assume this what had been going on and there were some sort of restraints for internal spying, then what is going on now? This evening I had heard on radio that the White House claimed that only calls going in and out of the country might be monitored. But this early interview suggests that such calls were monitored previous to the "new" approach. Why were legal restraints put in place calling for judicial hearings? Because of spying abuse done under Nixon. Those restraints are now removed.
posted by Postroad on Dec 19, 2005 - 158 comments

Above Ground Covert-Ops

Global Options, Inc. Have you been unfairly attacked by: the media? trial lawyers? disgruntled workers? terrorists? overzealous federal regulators? competitors? hackers? industrial spies? one-issue activists? extortionists? intellectual property thieves? or even the Russian mafia? Global Options has your back. [warning: radar beeps.]
posted by panoptican on Dec 4, 2005 - 19 comments

Signaling Vulnerabilities in Wiretapping Systems

Signaling Vulnerabilities in Wiretapping Systems. The technology used for decades by law enforcement agents to wiretap telephones has a security flaw that allows the person being wiretapped to stop the recorder remotely [bugmenot]. It is also possible to falsify the numbers dialed [pdf].
posted by event on Nov 30, 2005 - 5 comments

David Brin's worried ....

David Brin -- hoping to rescue modernity Quote: -- "... I have spoken before of the blatant -- and yet never-reported -- pattern shown by more than a hundred members of the United States Congress, appointing young cadets to the US Military Academies according to one criterion above all others -- their depth of religious zealotry. This infusion of young officers who believe in a coming apocalypse is discreetly worrisome at West Point and Annapolis, but it has already had newsworthy effects at the Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs. A town that is also now known as a main locus and training center for fanatics bent on dominating American civilization. (see) This coincidence... one of many that simply cannot be coincidence... should be tallied and noted. See also this in recent -- 11/26 -- news "... Among the steps already taken by the Pentagon that enhanced its domestic capabilities was the establishment after 9/11 of Northern Command, or Northcom, in Colorado Springs, to provide military forces to help in reacting to terrorist threats in the continental United States. Today, Northcom's intelligence centers in Colorado and Texas fuse reports from CIFA, the FBI and other U.S. agencies, and are staffed by 290 intelligence analysts. That is more than the roughly 200 analysts working for the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, and far more than those at the Department of Homeland Security...."
posted by hank on Nov 28, 2005 - 29 comments

Deafening silence over GAO e-voting report, new evidence of abuse.

Mainstream Media to American Democracy: Drop Dead! Brad Friedman ask alarming questions about the complete lack of attention which has been paid to the GAO report on electronic voting technology (PDF link) released more than a month ago, which confirms what security experts have been saying for years: these systems are vulnerable to multiple independent attacks targeting system and network vulnerabilities, access controls, hardware controls, and overall management practices. If you're short of time, at least read Rep. Waxman's fact sheet summary.

Ultimately, there is no real security on these machines; the report shows that overturning election results would not be at all difficult for even a single moderately skilled attacker. And now Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman are wondering if American Democracy has died an electronic death in the wake of massive discrepancies between final pre-election opinion polls and the results of several citizen initiatives designed to reform Ohio's electoral processes.
posted by dinsdale on Nov 16, 2005 - 68 comments

Security smackdown

Howard Schmidt thinks that developers should be accountable for security holes. Schneier responds.
posted by afroblanca on Oct 20, 2005 - 29 comments

Herding Zombies

Interesting "New Yorker" article about online extortion via DDoS attacks. Call me naive and underinformed, but I had little understanding of how this works. "In the most common scenario, the bots surreptitiously connect hundreds, or thousands, of zombies to a channel in a chat room. The process is called “herding,” and a herd of zombies is called a botnet."
posted by dersins on Oct 7, 2005 - 34 comments

Conservation doesn't include Air Force One

Petroleum Industry Christmas Wishlist Conservative pundits are quick to point out that no "new refineries have been built since 1976", and even quicker to blame "environmentalists". But the facts just don't support that. Refiners have chosen the environment that they do business in, and in some cases have willingly contributed to it. (Plenty of data here.) Here's why:

As one would expect, Bush's solutions nicely match up with the wishlists of OPEC and US refiners, who in the past few decades have largely undone the breakup of Standard Oil (via) via mergers and joint ventures. Representative Joe Barton, (R-TX), Chairperson of the Energy and Commerce Committee, incidentally up for reelection and well funded, by "the industry" through various Political Action Committees, has released a draft of the predictably named (to be found here when released) Gasoline for America's Security Act of 2005 (committee discusion and webcast are scheduled for 9/28 at 8 am.) Given that new refineries are years away, there is still no solution for current prices or the (90%?) increase in prices since January of 2001.
posted by rzklkng on Sep 27, 2005 - 22 comments

In the future, the whole world will be like a video game....

Closed Circuit TV and Data Confluence
Qinetiq is bringing their CCTV confluence technology, codenamed Praetorian, to the UK. "The system automatically tracks and stitches 3D images with CCTV video, maps and other real-time information. It automatically alerts operators to intruders, unusual behaviour, left objects or anything it is told to spot." And it looks more like a video game than a video feed. This new tech is perhaps not as controversial as Qinetiq's Millimetre Wave Imaging System that allows passive scanning through clothing to detect guns, knives or bombs.
Yes, it is very Big Brother-esque but its also pretty amazing technology too. Qinetiq previously discussed on MeFi here, here, here and here.
posted by fenriq on Aug 12, 2005 - 7 comments

Kill Spam Dead

"Israeli technology firm Blue Security has set up a scheme to batter spam websites with thousands of complaints. The plan is to fill order forms...offering pills, porn and penile health tonics with complaints about the products advertised for sale in junk messages." I signed up.
posted by JPowers on Jul 23, 2005 - 27 comments

Stealing Osama's Identity

Security, the TSA, and the No-Fly List You would think that our National Security apparatus would be like the TV series "24", with the most ingenious and sophisticated technology available. You would be wrong. Disclaimer: TSA is not an intelligent intelligence agency. Here's a blurb from the resume of the designer(Kenneth Mack) of the application the airline industry uses for *PDF* managing their employee data and the cross-checking them with the no-fly list:
- Sr. Developer: Developed a program [for Goddard Technologies] that uses the "No-Fly List" Excel spreadsheet, provided by the FAA and the database of badged employees to permute the name combinations. It takes into consideration multiple first and middle names, with Soundex and the various "initial" combinations. This program reduced the time for comparison from 3 days to 10 minutes.
The scary yet interesting part of all of this is that the No-Fly List is nothing more than a password-protected spreadsheet (see this PDF). One would guess our Government's geeks would know that it's a bad idea to send email attachments containing social security numbers and dates of birth, unencrypted, over the internets, even if they might be terrorists.
posted by rzklkng on Jul 15, 2005 - 30 comments

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