Category Archives: News

Hax0rs

I regularly get about 5-10 new users signing up to my boring old blog, every month. So far, zero of them have been people I know or am related to. Up until a few months ago, 100% of them were @mail.ru email addresses, until I blocked that domain (and a few others) from registering. Today I had to add a bunch more domains, because hackers and scammers are using lots of domain names these days.

All of the ones I’ve seen are now blocked as well. So far, this blog hasn’t suffered from any spam comments or posts, and I’d really like to keep it that way. I have things setup so anyone can request an account, but I have to “promote” an account before it is permitted to post comments. So, even if the email addresses they use do actually exist, and they can get the link to set their password, it won’t help them. Of course, this doesn’t stop them from trying, so I have to login and delete the bogus accounts regularly, and block any new domain names they use.


Ukrainian hackers used quizzes on Facebook to access your private Facebook data

THIS is why you should NEVER play those anonymous quizzes you see on Facebook. You’re freely giving away personal info about yourself to hackers so they can use that info to steal your identify and online accounts.

A pair of Ukrainian hackers used seemingly innocuous online quizzes and surveys to gain access to private Facebook user data, a lawsuit alleges.

Source: Ukrainian hackers used quizzes to access private Facebook data, Facebook says – CNN

Cable and satellite TV sinks again as online streaming soars

Cable TV companies are marketing their product entirely wrong. If I could take over Comcast, I’d convert all existing cable tv customers to ISP customers with an IPTV box, like a Roku or Apple TV, and optionally let them watch tv channels on your companies app. You have a wire to their location, so you know where they live, so you know what local channels to deliver in the app. You don’t need dishes at every city’s cable headend office. Just one receiver or direct connection from each local region.

If the customer wants access to your video product, is willing to pay $50 per month, but supplies their own IPTV box, there will be no additional charge beyond the $50, and you just need to tell them to install your app. Of course we’ll supply you with the most popular models, if you want, at list price, plus an optional on-site installation charge. Otherwise we ship it to you.

Just give away home Internet service to everyone in your service area. Consider the cost of fiber to the home installation an investment, and let home users use WiFi and Gigabit Ethernet internet service, maybe restricting to 256 Mbps bandwidth throttling and only allowing certain common internet protocols (HTTP, HTTPS, POP3, IMAP), for the free customers, charge $50 for 500 Mbps, and 100 for $1000 Mbps, then focus on making profit money on the information collected on dns lookups, browsing habits, and other protocols used on everyone in the region. A free Internet service becomes the default for the entire population.

Also, maybe if you didn’t have a tv and isp business, you could offer the entire cable bandwidth to the isp side, and increase potential max number of channels, meaning higher speeds.

Wouldn’t it be great if all ISPs kept track of their customers usage, developed “what’s normal” figerprints of activity, like what protocols/ports you regularly use, if you send SMTP email, how many you send and how many destnations per week you send them to. Log everything into Splunk, or Hadoop, search for utliers, block their activity, and notify the customer of the virus signature. You’d block all virus that launch spambots on people’s home computers, because the majority of user never use SMTP. Also look for other signs of hacker activity, like larger than usual network port scans, repeated probes for certain ports and protocols.

You need something like Splunk and massive amounts of disk space, to massage the data for long periods of time. Spambots are getting smarter, sending their spam less frequently, to try to avoid detection. They can hide on more computers that way, and send a larger total number of spam.

In other words, let the ISPs do the same internet attack defense every single corporation certain does. but block the problem at it’s source.  The ISP should restrict the offending activity, and let the customer know somehow that someone in their house appears to have a virus, or appears to be performing hacking activity, and whatever block was added. Let them say “no, that is wanted” if they want, but then a human will have to review the case, review the data, decide the action.

If the cable company gave away free, fast Internet web service, and only charged a one time for a new roku or apple tv box to watch their channels (or Netflix or other stream video apps), and optionally charged $50 per mo to use their streaming video player app, then I think everyone will want to switch to your internet service. They’ll steal 90% of all customers from all competitors.

Sure, you won’t be sell streaming cable tv video service to every single one of your customers, but you will collect way more information about the Internet usage of way more people. That data is valuable, and can be anonymized and marketed for profit.

You can also throttle the bandwidth of the free tier to 256 Mbps and restrict it to HTTP, HTTPS, POP3, IMAP, and a few other choice protocols, then charge $50 monthly fee for 512 Mbps unrestricted or $100 monthly fee for 1 Gbps unrestricted. The nerds of the country will love you. Every business in the metro area will pay you money.

And the cable company can just get rid of all those cable boxes, dishes, and video hardware at every regional site, when the cable company finally admits they are now really just an ISP that also offers a multi-channel streaming video Cable TV style service. Let HBO and the others sell their own streaming service. No more leeching off of you.

And stop with the net neutrality stuff, attacking web services that consume “too much of your bandwidth”, that’s just ridiculously stupid, thug-like behaviour. “Yeah, (snif) It’d be a shame, ya know, if something unanticipated were to happen to your app’s bandwidth on all our customers. Heh heh.”

Netflix and other streamers keep luring customers from cable and satellite.

Source: Cable and satellite TV sinks again as online streaming soars | Ars Technica

It’s Time to Have (Another) Talk About Distracted Driving

Wow! Wow! Wow! The story is disturbing, to say the least. But the Trump Administration is provably pro-industry, anti-regulation. What is the solution then? Anyone?

94% of Americans support a ban on texting while driving, but on any given day in America, an estimated 660,000 people will operate their phone and their vehicle simultaneously. It’s time to …

Source: It’s Time to Have (Another) Talk About Distracted Driving – A Claim Services Blog

Facebook’s anti-vax problem

No. No, no, no, that’s not how any of this works. It’s 2019. You are 18. Facebook didn’t exist until 2006. Your mom could NOT have learned it on Facebook, if you weren’t vaccinated during your first 5 years.

If it weren’t for the misinformation his mother saw on Facebook, Lindenberger told The Washington Post, “my entire family could’ve been vaccinated.”

Source: Ethan Lindenberger: Facebook’s anti-vax problem intensified in Congressional testimony – The Washington Post

Fox Rocked by $179M ‘Bones’ Ruling | Hollywood Reporter

I was all prepared to cut and paste the most interesting paragraph from the story, and here it is, right below, already quoted:

In coming to a decision, (DC Circuit Court of Appeals Judge) Lichtman describes how some of Fox’s top executives, including 21st Century Fox president Peter Rice and Fox TV CEO Dana Walden (soon to be top executives at Disney) plus Fox TV chairman Gary Newman (leaving Fox) “appear to have given false testimony in an attempt to conceal their wrongful acts.” According to the ruling, Fox has taken a “cavalier attitude toward its wrongdoing” and exhibits a “company-wide culture and an accepted climate that enveloped an aversion for the truth.”

Source: Fox Rocked by $179M ‘Bones’ Ruling: Lying, Cheating and “Reprehensible” Studio Fraud | Hollywood Reporter

Clean Glasses are a blessing, unless your eyes spit grease

I wear progressive bifocal glasses, and have for years. I don’t constantly touch my glasses, they never touch my eyes or face, but every hour or two, I have to use a microfiber towel to clean the grease spots off the lenses. It’s like my eyeballs expel grease outwards. Maybe I blink too hard. I don’t know.

The other day, I drove to work, wondering why the roadway appeared so muted, so fog filled. I got at least a mile away from home before I figured out the problem was my glasses, and I could see much better without them. At least, until I was trying to read a computer screen. My glasses are mostly for close up things, so when they fog up, or get greasy, that’s when I really hate it.

I know a lot of people wear glasses, but I wonder, what other common life annoyances like this have come up before for you?