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Showing posts from May, 2015

Logjam isn't the only reason your computer might be more vulnerable to internet threats

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There’s a hole in the protection surrounding some of the internet’s supposedly secure websites. A group of researchers has discovered that cyber criminals and other hackers can attack websites that use the “https” security encryption using a method known as “Logjam”. This attack, which is thought to work on around 8% of the top one million websites, allows hackers to see important information that should be protected, such as payment details or private communication.

Encryption is a way of turning information into a secret code in order to stop others from eavesdropping on your internet conversations. Every time you see a padlock or then letters “https” in the address bar of your web browser, everything being sent between your computer and the remote web server where the website you are viewing is stored is encrypted and should be secret. The discovery of the Logjam attack, which is possible because of a flaw in the security software, means this may not always be the case.

Logjam work…

How a hacker could hijack a plane from their seat ...

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Cockpit control.Shutterstock

Reports that a cybersecurity expert successfully hacked into an aeroplane’s control system from a passenger seat raises many worrying questions for the airline industry.

It was once believed that the cockpit network that allows the pilot to control the plane was fully insulated and separate from the passenger network running the in-flight entertainment system. This should make it impossible for a hacker in a passenger seat to interfere with the course of the flight.
But the unfolding story of this hacker’s achievement, which has prompted further investigation by authorities and rebuttals from plane manufacturers, means that this assumption needs to be revisited.

In a similar way, it was once also believed that PIN protection was sufficient for ATMs. Then it was discovered that keystroke logging software can be used to translate sound signals created when pressing the ATM numeric keypad into the PIN, greatly reducing the time needed for hackers to guess for…

The art of writing for @ConversationUK ...

To be fair, it is neither an art, nor a science. More an enthusiasm mixed with ample portions of determination. It may seem smug, one has just wandered past the million reader mark. However, it takes time and some luck to get there.

Some articles involving celebrities, astronomy, aviation security and volcanoes get big hits. I am not jealous of my colleagues in science, they work on some cool stuff and can get the results in terms of hit count per article.

So, I write about everyday information technology and internet security issues, interesting, geeky and definitely not as popular as some comet plodding around our solar system.

However, having more articles in our university top ten (you have to rank over 100,000 readers per article), means that you have to be persistent, patient and occasionally quick of the block when a new story emerges. You do not know who will republish and some sites prove to be very fruitful.

My worse read article has just over 1000 readers, the best just sh…

Academic blogging - just do it and keep it up ...

Sitting here this morning with a cup of coffee in hand and statistics in mind. Having just noticed that my overall hits on this blog have wandered past another milestone.

On more occasions than I can now recall, I have been asked how I have been able to build up my readership. I give multiple answers, to be honest, it does depend on my mood and sense of humour at the time. However, there is no magic formulae. We all write about what we know (I hope) and we all write about what we enjoy (otherwise it would be silly).

Once you have an idea of what it is you are going to write about, just do it and keep doing it. Don't be afraid to try out different subjects or ideas, do not be afraid of gaps or doing too much. It is easy to schedule blog posts, if you are full of ideas.

You can easily link your blog to social media, Google+, twitter, facebook etc ... it does help encourage your readership. They will come from all kinds of interesting and unexpected places, not all are predicable.

W…

Rombertik @ConversationUK article ...

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In human culture and warfare, the notion of self-destructive attackers like the Kamikaze pilots deployed during World War II, is pervasive. A more recent conflict is the cyber-war between those creating malware and the security firms and cyber-security specialists that attempt to thwart them. In this battle, the recently revealed Rombertik malware is an interesting evolution.

Rombertik is a complex malware form that’s capable of pulling the pin on a grenade and taking itself and the computer on which it resides down with it as it goes. Rombertik literally self-destructs on discovery, as a means of defending itself against detection. While it’s possible to detect, the malware makes it incredibly difficult to deploy any technological countermeasures.
Take no prisoners Malware experts are struggling to learn the inner workings of this interesting adversary. Scanning for any opportunities possible, Rombertik will attach itself to a web browser and attempt to capture all the data passing …

Monitoring your feeds ...

To my amusement, I still get many souls assume that I am always online, always on social media, always posting. As one has explained, automation solves many things and maintains a presence even when one is sucking down darjeeling with Marie Antoinette.

Another tactic is let the feeds talk to you and enable a level of remote control of their output. Everytime someone posts, tweets, retweets, mentions, replies etc. I will get an email and/or a sensation in my pocket (which is where I keep my phone). Some feeds will not allow posts until I approve them, others, allow the posts but give me the opportunity to review/remove them or reply if/when I see fit.

On a couple of groups, especially on LinkedIn and Facebook, I have to endure the occasional soul who likes to self promote. Fortunately I can easily intervene, having full sanction. It does happen, but then I do have control, after all what self respecting geek actually wears RayBans these days?

If you are an educator who wants to use so…

More right then left, yet I struggle with the new order in the UK ...

I am not ashamed to say that I am more inclined to the right than left, more 'Tory' than Liberal, more blue than red. Definitely not purple!
But, having 'Tory' inclinations does not mean that I have to agree with our current government, or the record of their last term.
Having seen some considerable damage done, namely: International reputation of our nation, including Europe.Education, where there are many times I have seen fear from our educators. Along with many other noted instances of the damage done.Disability care and consideration; I am of the mind that those who can work, should. But, some need more help, they want to but have to often overcome Herculean challenges on a daily basis only to find that our Government is pissing on their shoes.Recognition that we having to find intellect from beyond our sceptred isle, as we struggle to cultivate our own. Overcoming the academic bias, we are desperate for vocational technologists that are world class. There are som…

So @OCR suggests @Google in UK Exams ... really!!! ...

Yes, I have used the fateful three exclamations ... Mark Dawes former principal of Oaklands College is suggesting on Radio 4's today programme that students on some examinations could use Google as we all do.

While I do agree with the campaign for real education on many of their points - may I add another. Surely this becomes another mechanism for educators to attempt to manipulate the results as they are so desperate to manipulate the league tables.

As the students sit the exam I dive into my blog and write some tips for searching and potential good answers. Having primed the students on their search etiquette and the best terms to use. Even with tracking, virtualisation and locked desktops systems we cannot control what they may encounter on the wilds of the web.

So, please, stop and think. Examinations are about recall, synthesis and scoping how the student shares their ideas and understanding. Yes, we all search the internet while learning and fits with continuous assessment,…