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Tor weaknesses
Dec 28th, 2010 by Ken Hagler

Flaws in Tor anonymity network spotlighted. At the Chaos Computer Club Congress in Berlin, Germany on Monday, researchers from the University of Regensburg delivered a new warning about the Tor anonymizer network, a system aimed at hiding details of a computer user’s online activity from spying eyes.

The attack doesn’t quite make a surfer’s activity an open book, but offers the ability for someone on the same local network—a Wi-Fi network provider, or an ISP working at law enforcement (or a regime’s) request, for example—to gain a potentially good idea of sites an anonymous surfer is viewing. [Ars Technica]

There are things users can do to protect themselves. From the article:

Users themselves can guard against this type of fingerprint-based eavesdropping relatively easily, Herrmann noted. Downloading or requesting more than one site at a time through the network will muddy the pattern enough that certainty will be very difficult for the eavesdropper to establish.

And from one of the comments:

This attack should be significantly less effective as well if the target in question is a fully functional and quality relaying node. In that case other people accessing through the node would randomize things significantly, and their access would be impossible to differentiate from a local user without the kind of physical access that makes the entire thing moot.

Stupid Hollywood Clichés
Dec 22nd, 2010 by Ken Hagler

You know you’re watching a stupid Hollywood movie when a guy wakes up to find a baby polar bear licking his face, and the guy doesn’t die a really gruesome death the next minute when the baby’s giant angry carnivorous mother doesn’t show up to tear him to shreds. I realize they’re cute when seen from a distance (preferably a very large distance), but the reality is that polar bears are incredibly dangerous.

Journalism in action (or should that be “inaction?”)
Dec 17th, 2010 by Ken Hagler

Foreign Exchange Student Dies After Fight With Classmate. A Korean foreign exchange student has died following a fight with a classmate at Sylmar’s First Lutheran High School. The Los Angeles Police Department explain that the squabble began on Tuesday afternoon as a verbal dispute regarding cultural differences that turned into a physical fight that proved fatal.

19-year-old Jin Su Lee sustained severe brain damage during the fight with his 17-year-old classmate, also a Korean foreign exchange student. [LAist]

I realize that journalism is all about the mindless regurgitation of press releases, and anyone who deviates from the program by asking awkward questions risks losing access to future press releases, but that leads to pretty ridiculous news stories. For example, the obvious (and apparently impermissible) question here is: what “dispute regarding cultural differences” arose between these two people from the same culture?

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© Ken Hagler. All rights reserved.