Monthly Archives: June 2013

Why Steve Jobs Had No License Plate: ANPR (and Snowden)

Police have been installing mobile license plate (“ANPR”) readers at an aggressive clip. I’ve covered these devices before: they automatically log the time and place your license plate was spotted… your plate and that of everyone else’s around the police car as it drives. The result, at least for one man, is that the cops […]

Kiosks that Store Your Keys — And Your Fingerprints (and avoiding facial recognition, more algorithms)

A new startup is putting key-dispensing machines in convenience stores. They scan your key and your fingerprint, so if you ever get locked out you can drop down to the store and pick up a key for 19.99 USD. This is apparently secure but in fact /terrible/. Apparently, because anyone who can look up your […]

Social media and data trails

There are three reasons it’s VASTLY better for most people to leave zero trail if they can at all help it: 1) It’s better to have some algorithm suspect you might be a hacker, than it is to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Basic human psychology. If you’re not leaving a trail, you […]

Why Security Isn’t Invisble (and lifehacking: dreams)

When security isn’t constantly annoying you, you forget to pay for it. As some major antivirus companies have learned. That right there ought to explain a lot about the state of security today. It’s one of those things that doesn’t have to be bad, even if it currently plays the moral hazard. Complacency is horrible […]

Security Begets Self-Censorship (and the Stasi on the NSA…?! plus inverse eschatology)

Choice quote: “That is why, if you want a quiet life, you shouldn’t make friends with security analysts: they tend to get drunk and describe the ways in which your phone can be turned into a listening device until the skin on the back of your neck starts to crawl…” I mentioned before that one […]

Defensive Security (and responsibility, crypto is a trap)

Prismatics roundup time. Glenn Greenwald goes on Skype and tells his partner (in Rio) he’ll send over a copy of The Documents — read, all the secrets that haven’t been published (yet). Two days later someone breaks into Greenwald & partner’s Rio house and steals only the laptop. Emotional trauma aside, this is a great […]

The Hacker Mindset: DNS as a Full C&C Channel (and crazy ideas)

This is a pretty good example of “the hacker mindset” at work… DNS is normally a very boring protocol. It’s not meant to let two particular computers communicate: it acts as a distributed directory, letting one computer query the world and find out that “” should be translated to to “”. One clever (white-hat) attacker […]