I've been following Henry's work even before the publication of To Engineering Is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design. See RISKS-3.25, 9.15, 9.16, 12.51, 18.61, 20.61, 26.80 for previous items. His latest article is a real blockbuster, and deserves your attention. Henry Petroski, The State of Our Infrastructure, *American Scientist*, September-October 2017, pp. 274--277 https://www.americanscientist.org/article/the-state-of-our-infrastructure This article picks up from his previous article on this topic in that journal 8 years ago. His latest take on this subject includes a Report Card on U.S. intrastructures based mostly on ASCE evaluations from 1998 to 2017. Essentially every infrastructure sector—Highways, Mass Transit, Aviation, Water. Schools, Energy, etc.—had a grade wallowing around in the range from D+ to D-. Bridges, Solid Waste and Ports actually achieved a C+ grade in 2017. The only notable improvement involved the Rail sector, which had climbed from a C- to a B. However, the estimated investment for remediation in 2013 had risen to $3.6 trillion total by 2020—which Henry notes is almost as much as the entire current federal budget. The 2017 estimate is 3.5% of GDP (until 2025). Considering there has been very little effort to even begin, we are just kicking the can further down the road. For greater depth, see Henry's 2016 book, The Road Taken: The History and Future of America's Infrastructures. You may wonder why I am putting this item in a forum devoted to computer-related risks. There are two primary reasons. (1) Many of these infrastructures are monitored by and controlled by computer systems that are not secure, reliable, or in some cases not sufficiently respectful of needs for human safety. In some cases, the shortcomings of the computer systems may be contributing to the low grades of the infrastructures. (2) The same miserable grades could be allocated to the security and integrity of computer systems and networks. I have long written on the risks of short-term optimization and the need for the proactive and holistic long-term thinking that is required to prevent this sort of pervasive degeneration. In some sense, the lack of that thinking is continually making matters worse, and making any remediation even more difficult (politically, economically, and realistically). The same comment also intensifies the potential implications of climate change on most of these infrastructures. PGN
I study grid operations. Major blackouts are studied like air disasters. The cause is almost always human error compounded by a lack of situational awareness. I would classify that as a user experience UX design failure. At 16:52 local time August 15, 2017 in the Taiwan grid became unbalanced and protection systems shut portions down as designed. A routine maintenance error caused the failure of a six unit natural gas power plant supplying about 12% of the country's load. The Tatan power plant is fueled by liquified natural gas. National gas company maintenance staff was replacing a power supply for a control system governing the flow of natural gas to the generators. They did not switch the connected control systems to manual control, leaving them on the automatic setting. The connected control systems automatically closed two valves supplying gas to the generators for several minutes. The Taiwan grid was operating close to the Summer load peak at the time, due to hot weather. Power was fully restored to the country about 4 1/2 hours later. The Minister of Economics Affairs Chih-kung Lee and the chairman of the national gas company Chen Chin-de have resigned as a result of the blackout. The automatic protection systems in the electric grid shut it down quickly when generation and load become unbalanced. Usually the grid will divide into working islands and outage islands. To restart the grid, a "black start," islands of generation have to be brought up in tandem with islands of load in exact balance while managing transmission constraints. That is a manual process by generator staff, field staff and operations control center staff. It is also governed by the maximum ramping speed of each generator. Blackouts are rare. There is not much first hand operational experience in black starts. Each utility will have written restoration plans. The control center staff trains black starts on simulators. Bringing up the grid when there is a large air conditioner load is complicated by motor stall current and voltage excursions. Yes, the grid is analog, with humans in the loop! Blackout and Taiwan energy strategy: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-16/taiwan-s-president-apologizes-for-blackout-affecting-millions Standard Operating Procedure Not Followed (8th time is the charm!): http://focustaiwan.tw/search/201708160017.aspx?q=blackout Failure and restoration: http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aeco/201708150033.aspx Weather drives August peak load: http://focustaiwan.tw/news/aeco/201708070018.aspx
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an alert regarding the recall of network-connected pacemakers from St. Jude Medical, now Abbott Laboratories. Apparently some 465,000 people are affected. It's one thing to do a firmware update on one's laptop, tablet, or mobile device, or for a router, firewall, doorbell, or thermostat. But what if a pacemaker is bricked after a user (or their physician) updates the firmware? My heart flutters at this prospect. And I dare not think of a ransomware attack on a pacemaker - how would that work? https://www.bankinfosecurity.com/medical-device-recall-a-10238 Peter H Gregory | Executive Director - CISO Services firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:email@example.com> [A long-time colleague of mine with close first-hand (and first-heart) experience had this response when I shared the above with him: For some reason neither of the Canadian hospitals used that remote update/sensing feature. The same was true in Ireland (where some doctors did not understand the pacemaker maintenance system at all). They both thought that a patient should be in their presence and examined personally before doing anything. PGN]
Chris Baynes, *The Independent*, 28 Aug 2017, via Dave Farber's IP. The panel is tasked with advising the US Homeland Security Department on cybersecurity and the protection of infrastructure. The eight departing members accused Trump's administration of failing to be "adequately attentive to the pressing national security matters" or "responsive to sound advice received from experts". “Your actions have threatened the security of the homeland I took an oath to protect,'' said their letter, obtained by IT news website Nextgov. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-cyber-security-advisers-resign-growing-threat-charlottesville-a7916496.html?cmpid=3Dfacebook-post Donald Trump's cyber-security advisers resign warning of 'insufficient attention to the growing threats'
The FBI has been briefing private sector companies on intelligence claiming to show that the Moscow-based cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab is an unacceptable threat to national security, current and former senior U.S. officials familiar with the matter tell CyberScoop. The briefings are one part of an escalating conflict between the U.S. government and Kaspersky amid long-running suspicions among U.S. intelligence officials that Russian spy agencies use the company as an intelligence-gathering tool of global proportions. https://www.cyberscoop.com/fbi-kaspersky-private-sector-briefings-yarovaya-laws/
http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/08/17/wikileaks-turned-down-leaks-on-russian-government-during-u-s-presidential-campaign/ In the summer of 2016, as WikiLeaks was publishing documents from Democratic operatives allegedly obtained by Kremlin-directed hackers, Julian Assange turned down a large cache of documents related to the Russian government, according to chat messages and a source who provided the records. WikiLeaks declined to publish a wide-ranging trove of documents—at least 68 gigabytes of data—that came from inside the Russian Interior Ministry, according to partial chat logs reviewed by Foreign Policy.
http://blog.trendmicro.com/trendlabs-security-intelligence/connected-car-hack/ " ... what should the security industry's response be when a hack is found that is not only successful in being able to drastically affect the performance and function of the car, but is also stealthy and vendor neutral? Enter the hack that does just that—one that has been discovered and proven to be effective ..."
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-man-fights-back-after-dealer-remotely-disables-car-over-200-fee-1.4265588 A car dealership in Sherbrooke, Que., may have broken the law when it used a GPS device to disable the car of a client who was refusing to pay an extra $200 fee, say consumer advocates consulted by CBC News. Bury, Que., resident Daniel Lallier signed a four-year lease for a Kia Forte LX back in May from Kia Sherbrooke. Two months later, the 20-year-old's grandmother offered to buy the car outright when he lost his job and couldn't make his weekly payments. After settling the balance and paying a $300 penalty, Lallier said, the dealership told him he would have to pay an additional $200 to remove a GPS tracker that had been installed on the car. The device allows dealers to remotely immobilize a car in case lease payments are in arrears. [...] After refusing to pay the fee, a mechanic notified Lallier by text message that his car was being remotely disabled until the dealership recovered the device and $200 fee. "I went outside and tested my car, and it wouldn't work at all. It wouldn't start period, and I got angry," Lallier said.
https://gizmodo.com/fbi-arrest-chinese-national-linked-to-opm-data-breach-m-1798411342 "A 36-year-old Chinese national was arrested in Los Angeles this week in connection with a computer hacking conspiracy involving malware linked to the 2014 US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) data breach. Yu Pingan of Shanghai, China, was arrested on Wednesday while traveling at Los Angeles International Airport. Also identified by the hacker pseudonym “GoldSun,” Yu has been charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and is further accused of conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States."
via NNSquad http://gizmodo.com/us-voting-machine-supplier-leaks-1-8-million-chicago-vo-1797947510 A leading US supplier of voting machines confirmed on Thursday that it exposed the personal information of more than 1.8 million Illinois residents. State authorities and the Federal Bureau of Investigation were alerted this week to a major data leak exposing the names, addresses, dates of birth, partial Social Security numbers, and party affiliations of over a million Chicago residents. Some driver's license and state ID numbers were also exposed.
To ensure users could still see status reports even when DreamHost.com was down (e.g., during a DDoS attack), the separate DreamHostStatus.com was established. Alas, they forgot to also use separate nameservers...
Dan Goodin - Aug 18, 2017 12:27 pm UTC https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2017/08/a-repair-shop-could-completely-hack-your-phone-and-you-wouldnt-know-it/ Secret chips in replacement parts can completely hijack your phone's security Booby-trapped touchscreens can log passwords, install malicious apps, and more. People with cracked touch screens or similar smartphone maladies have a new headache to consider: the possibility the replacement parts installed by repair shops contain secret hardware that completely hijacks the security of the device. The Mafioso of old never allowed repairmen into their homes. Stories abound regarding multiplicities of dead washing machines, TV's, etc. It appears that their fears were justified. On the other hand, these stories play right into the hands of those trying to kill "the right to repair" supported by the EFF. [Also posted to http://www.metzdowd.com/mailman/listinfo/cryptography PGN]
The New York Times, 21 Aug 2017 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/21/business/dealbook/phone-hack-bitcoin-virtual-currency.html Yet another reminder of the risks of simplifying assumptions. In this case assuming that email and phone calls are a secure form of identity when they are really just creating a focus for attacks. It's also a reminder of the reason why we money isn't just a technology but part of larger social systems and why the challenge of establishing trust is so difficult. Let's not forget how many mechanisms pile on a DNS that doesn't even let you own your identity. [Gabe Goldberg commented on this one as well: So-called phone porting attacks are exposing a vulnerability that could be exploited against anybody with valuable emails or other digital files. PGN]
Roger Fingas, Apple Insider,15 Aug 2017 http://appleinsider.com/articles/17/08/15/apple-facebook-google-others-sign-brief-concerned-about-warrantless-location-tracking Several high-profile technology companies, including Apple, have submitted a amicus brief in a key case at the U.S. Supreme Court, expressing concerns about warrantless police access to cellphone location data. Other tech firms listed in the brief include Airbnb, Cisco, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Snap, Twitter, and Verizon. Collectively, the companies argue that the court should "refine the application of certain Fourth Amendment doctrines to ensure that the law realistically engages with Internet-based technologies and with people's expectations of privacy in their digital data." The case in question is Timothy Carpenter v. United States. Police obtained Carpenter's location history without a warrant, leading to his eventual robbery conviction. At court he's being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, which says that the government violated Fourth Amendment rights against search and seizure...SNIP
"The stunt demonstrated a potential security headache for engineers working with machine-learning software. The researchers showed it's possible to embed silent, nasty surprises into artificial neural networks, the type of learning software used for tasks such as recognizing speech or understanding photos. For their part, the NYU researchers are thinking about how to make tools that would let coders peer inside a neural network from a third party and spot any hidden behavior. Meanwhile? Buyer beware." https://www.wired.com/story/machine-learning-backdoors That last bit could have relevance for validation and testing more generally.
“In the case of this camera, in order to exploit the vulnerability you would need to send a malicious payload to port 80,'' M Carlton, Senrio's vice president of research, told the website Threatpost. <https://threatpost.com/bad-code-library-triggers-devils-ivy-vulnerability-in-millions-of-iot-devices/126913/> “The camera then processes the data using the vulnerable library. The attacker then sends the specially crafted payload that triggers the buffer stack overflow which leads to custom code execution.'' With the Axis cameras, after exploiting the vulnerability, Senrio researchers could reboot a device and change settings to block access to the video feed. More disturbingly, a device could also be reset to factory defaults, which would cause it to issue a prompt to change the user name and password, after which attackers would have complete control of the device. In other words, tech savvy thieves could use this exploit to turn off security cameras before pulling off a heist, and security personnel wouldn't be able to quickly get the cameras back up and running. http://windowsitpro.com/internet-things-iot/devils-ivy-another-wake-call-iot-security
Gary Mortimer, sUAS News: Aug 2018 An exception to policy with recommendations from the asymmetric warfare group that will permit the use of DJI kit once some conditions have been met. The Android Tactical Assault Kit will become the ground-control station (GCS) of choice when a DJI plugin has passed OPSEC (Operational Security) scrutiny. It was developed by the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). https://www.suasnews.com/2017/08/us-army-walks-back-dji-decision-slightly/
A wonderful article on the parlance of pilots: https://aeon.co/essays/the-language-of-the-cockpit-is-technical-obscure-and-irresistibly-romantic
via NNSquad https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/08/isp-funded-study-finds-huge-support-for-keeping-current-net-neutrality-rules/ A study funded by Internet service providers has found something that Internet service providers really won't like. The overwhelming majority of people who wrote unique comments to the Federal Communications Commission want the FCC to keep its current net neutrality rules and classification of ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act, according to the study released today. The study (available here) was conducted by consulting firm Emprata and funded by Broadband for America, whose members include AT&T, CenturyLink, Charter, CTIA-The Wireless Association, Comcast, NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), and USTelecom.
Most bank account numbering systems incorporate some sort of checksum into their numbering scheme to avoid simple transcription mistakes. Dutch bank accounts rely on the eleven-test (elfproef: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elfproef) and the European successor IBAN uses the 97 check (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Bank_Account_Number). Surprisingly, even with both checks combined, these safeguards can fail to do their job quite easily as I found out last month. At the beginning of July I was supposed to get quite a substantial payment from a financial institution. But when the money failed to show up in my account after a few days I called the company. The error was then quickly uncovered. The account I supplied to them on my contract, in my handwriting, ended in 719. The person who entered the details into their system interpreted the 7 as a 9 and then the 9 as a 3. That resulted in a valid account number for the eleven-test (7*3+1*2+9*1 = 32 and 9*3+1*2+3*1 = 32), but also produced the exact same checksum for the IBAN 97 check (719 / 97 = 7 remainder 40 and 913 / 97 = 9 remainder 40). So, even though the two checksum systems look very different, it turns out that it's really easy to produce a hash collision with just a two digit change. In this case I did get my money a few days later and I assume the initial recipient didn't get to enjoy his or her new found wealth for very long. The risks: relying on two checksums to validate manual input isn't enough (and my handwriting is illegible). Paul van Keep [The "check" is in the "fail"!]
CRYPTO-GRAM, August 15, 2017 [PGN-excerpted for RISKS] Bruce Schneier, CTO, IBM Resilient, firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.schneier.com <https://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram/archives/2017/0815.html> The press is reporting a $32M theft of the cryptocurrency Ethereum. Like all such thefts, they're not a result of a cryptographic failure in the currencies, but instead a software vulnerability in the software surrounding the currency—in this case, digital wallets. This is the second Ethereum hack this week. The first tricked people in sending their Ethereum to another address. This is my concern about digital cash. The cryptography can be bulletproof, but the computer security will always be an issue. https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/zmvkke/this-is-not-a-drill-a-hacker-allegedly-stole-dollar32-million-in-ethereum https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/hackers-seize-32-million-in-parity-wallet-breach/ 30-million-worth-of-ethereum/ The first hack: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/hacker-steals-7-million-worth-of-ethereum-from-coindash-platform/ https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/zmvg58/hacker-allegedly-steals-dollar74-million-in-ethereum-with-incredibly-simple-trick
`It knew what you were going to do next': AI learns from pro gamers — then crushes them. It only took the bot a few weeks to go from novice to world class. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2017/08/15/it-knew-what-you-were-going-to-do-next-ai-learns-from-pro-gamers-then-crushes-them/
via NNSquad https://www.wired.com/story/how-peter-thiels-secretive-data-company-pushed-into-policing/ The scale of Palantir's implementation, the type, quantity and persistence of the data it processes, and the unprecedented access that many thousands of people have to that data all raise significant concerns about privacy, equity, racial justice, and civil rights. But until now, we haven't known very much about how the system works, who is using it, and what their problems are. And neither Palantir nor many of the police departments that use it are willing to talk about it.
WashPo via NNSquad https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/from-isaac-asimov-to-aimee-mann-robophobia-plagues-humans/2017/08/16/25b21096-8239-11e7-9e7a-20fa8d7a0db6_story.html Robots are secretly plotting to kill us. Or enslave us. Or, at best, they will take our jobs, one by one. From science fiction written by Isaac Asimov eight decades ago to "Dilbert" cartoons today, the relationship between robots and humans has long fascinated—and worried—people. There's even a term, "robophobia," for an irrational anxiety about robots and other advanced automation machines. Positronically!
“I have a foreboding of an America in my children's or grandchildren's time—when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what's true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. The dumb down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30-second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.'' Carl Sagan, "The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark", 1995
A short article in this Saturday's newspaper's cars section features various industry commentators on whether today's roads are good enough (at least in the UK) for driverless cars. One problem is that the cars can follow white road markings easily, but on side streets or country lanes these are often poor quality or just not there; reportedly the cars' cameras are only black-and-white so it's difficult to see where the edge of the road is. Heavy rain can defeat radar sensors, and rainwater on the road surface at night can obscure lane markings, if there are any. Then there's snow... One commentator suggested that segregated dedicated driverless lanes may be needed in cities. Something that's intrigued me is road works. In the UK, motorways are usually three traffic lanes + hard shoulder (emergency lane) in each direction; when major repairs are needed (happens a lot), often there's a temporary crossover built into the central reservation (median strip) so that traffic uses the shoulder and adjacent lane in one direction and the other two lanes the other way (this is 'contraflow'). There are plenty of signs, cones, reflective studs, temporary lane markings, etc. separating the lanes, which humans can follow without too much difficulty (though I've unintentionally taken an exit more than once—it feels like the Cresta Run, driving through a canyon of cones!), but how would a driverless car manage? A possible fix would be to have an electronic map of the area which could be transmitted to cars as they approach so that they can guide themselves through, though somebody would have to take responsibility for setting up the map and updating it as the works progress.
Slight Street Sign Modifications Can Completely Fool Machine Learning Algorithms It's very difficult, if not impossible, for us humans to understand how robots see the world. Their cameras work like our eyes do, but the space between the image that a camera captures and actionable information about that image is filled with a black box of machine learning algorithms that are trying to translate patterns of features into something that they're familiar with. Training these algorithms usually involves showing them a set of different pictures of something (like a stop sign), and then seeing if they can extract enough common features from those pictures to reliably identify stop signs that aren't in their training set. This works pretty well, but the common features that machine learning algorithms come up with generally are not “red octagons with the letters S-T-O-P on them.” Rather, they're looking features that all stop signs share, but would not be in the least bit comprehensible to a human looking at them. If this seems hard to visualize, that's because it reflects a fundamental disconnect between the way our brains and artificial neural networks interpret the world. http://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-that-think/transportation/sensors/slight-street-sign-modifications-can-fool-machine-learning-algorithms
One of the many risks of the RISKS digest is that uninformed people use it to make fun of legitimate research. Why did our esteemed moderator let this one in? I have a theory that it was a honey pot, intended to lure me into making a response. Well, Peter, if that is so, then it worked. In RISKS 30.43, a reader responded to a news article about people at Virginia Tech dressed in car suits. "What is the Risk?" he asked. "Is it a study to see if people freak out at the sight of a "driverless" van?" Wendy Ju, a research scientist at Stanford University studying autonomous vehicles invented the clever trick of studying driverless cars by hiding a real driver inside a suit made of the same upholstery used for the car seat. The driver is not visible through the window of the car. However, the driver can see out through the loosely woven fabric and can readily control the car. (A closer look reveals that the driver's seat is thicker than the passenger's, but in our studies, nobody has ever noticed that.) Why? Consider the communication between driverless vehicles and road users, where road users are cars with drivers, motorcycles, bicycles, skateboarders, pedestrians, etc. Why? well, suppose you want to cross the street populated by truly driverless vehicles. How do you know if they see you? How do you know if you can cross? How would you wave them on? How would they wave you on? (What if you waved one vehicle on but the others didn't notice, so they continue moving?) At the Design Lab at UC San Diego, we also constructed a car seat and are testing solutions to these situations. Virginia Tech is doing the same and we know of other groups as well. I can also assure you that Stanford, UC San Diego, and VA Tech all have IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval to do this work. It is easy to think of solutions, when there is only one driverless car and one road user, but what if there were many such cars and many road users? The communication problem between driverless vehicles and road users is a serious issue. Moreover, it requires standardization: if every automobile company used their own signaling methods, the result would be chaos. Together with the Nissan Research Center-Silicon Valley and the Toyota Research Institute, the UCSD Design Lab recently co-sponsored a full day standards meeting in San Francisco with multiple OEMs, relevant government agencies, representatives of standards groups (ISO) and university research labs, both from the US and Europe. The preliminary results of all the research were extremely useful. I know it is easy and fun to joke about the notion of a driver in a car seat suit, but it is legitimate, important research that has the potential to save lives. Moral: Don't make fun of an idea unless you know the whole story. Rothenb=C3=BCcher, D., Li, J., Sirkin, D., Mok, B., & Ju, W. (2015). *Ghost driver: a platform for investigating interactions between pedestrians and driverless vehicles*. Paper presented at the Adjunct Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Automotive User Interfaces and Interactive Vehicular Applications. from http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=3D2809730.2809755 Emmenegger, C., Risto, M., Bergen, B., Norman, D., & Hollan*, J. (2016). *The Critical Importance of Standards for the Communication Between Autonomous Vehicles and Humans*. Paper presented at the Automobile Vehicle Systems conference. Don Norman, Prof. and Director, DesignLab, UC San Diego email@example.com designlab.ucsd.edu/ www.jnd.org <http://www.jnd.org/>
When a bank owes $100 million it might fail, but if it owes $100 *billion*, it's "too big to fail". Extending that logic, a $350 *trillion *problem is no problem at all, precisely because treating it as a problem means "the end of economy as we know it". The "revelation" about LIBOR is just as if in the 1960's, when every pound Sterling banknote in the UK still included the statement "I promise to pay the bearer the sum of 1 pound sterling silver", someone would have "discovered" that the B of E does not really hand out bars of silver at all... Eventually that statement was unceremoniously removed, and about the same time the USA had abandoned the gold base, and nothing really happened. I assume that this is what's going to happen with LIBOR: Banks would just find another justification to the way it's value is determined, and everyone would keep using that value in the same way. As long as the value "feels right" and everyone agrees to use it, it will remain useful. This just underlines the simple fact that all money in any form -- including pure hard gold—is actually virtual, and has always been since its invention.
> ... Arthur C. Smith is shown teaching Electrical Engineering to a class of > engineers sent to MIT by their employers for a year of upgrading. But today, are there any employers willing to pay for a year of an engineer's re-education? They'd rather fire Sr. and hire Jr. instead for half the salary.
Following my contribution of fishy puns, that were then battered [sea what I did there?] by PGN, I must express a little surprise at his omission of the obvious pun on the bricking of an IoT domestic portal access control device ... "DEAD LOCK". [MB] [That would be very appropriate if you were in a deadly embrace with a giant squid. Also, browse on "lock fish" and "fish lock"—with quite different meanings. However, DEAD LOX would be tautologous. PGN]
The reports of a company putting microchips into their employees show that they have fallen into the basic identification technology trap: that we can build a technology that will uniquely and permanently identify someone. Microchips work today because they are being used for pets. Once we use them for identifying people for the purposes of moving money or goods and services, people will figure out a way to fake them. It will be trivial to design a microchip that not only reports the current id, but can be reprogrammed to a new id from a simple device. Secondly, it will be fairly easy to build a scanner that picks up the ids of anyone nearby. Quick scan and reprogram and I am a new person with your credit limit. David Randolph, Prairie Trail Software, Inc., Plano, TX
You should all know that Lindsay has single-handedly built the searchable RISKS repository at Newcastle <http://catless.ncl.ac.uk/Risks/>, and has been maintaining it for lo these many years. I am eternally indebted to him, and wish to congratulate him on this award. Brian Randell just informed me that Lindsay has been named a National Teaching Fellow in the U.K. http://www.ncl.ac.uk/press/news/2017/08/nationalteachingfellow/ Lindsay is quoted: “Naturally, there have been many changes in teaching approaches and attitudes and this is particularly apparent in computing where the pace of change means it is essential to stay current, both in subject knowledge and teaching technique.'' “Teaching and inspiring the next generation is both a pleasure and a privilege and I feel very honoured to have been nominated for this award.'' HEA Chief Executive, Professor Stephanie Marshall, said: “A National Teaching Fellowship is the most prestigious individual award for excellence in teaching in higher education. These awards represent a fantastic achievement by all 55 new NTFs, and I am sure the whole sector joins me in applauding them in their success.''
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