Vodaphone Mobil Data Security Flaw

March 18, 2012

I had the opportunity to buy the new iPad. I signed up for a Vodaphone mobil data account for £5. To top up the account I had to create an account with a new password. The password had to be be between 8 and 15 characters, with at least on numeric, one uppercase, and one punctuation. It took me a while to get one right.

This is only an illusion of security and is clearly “security theatre”.

And then a couple of days later I forgot it and had to request a password reminder. They sent the full password in an unencrypted email to the email address of record. Because that email address of record serves as an ID, anyone with knowledge of that ID and password (both bits of information in the unencrypted email) one can get into the account. That email could be captured while traversing the internet or other methods.

Further, as they are limited the maximum number of characters for the password, it appears as if they are capturing the password in text rather than storing a hash of that password. Password hashes are not normally un-encryptable within the life of the universe. Therefore staff at Vodaphone, or hackers into Vodaphone, can get those passwords.

As said, just “security theatre” by Vodaphone.


And explain again why the Government should invest?

March 16, 2012

The Scotsman newspaper reports today about calls by

Green energy experts are calling on the Scottish and UK governments to invest £80 million in wave and tidal power.

Industry body RenewableUK said the cash was needed to help the sector – which could create 10,000 jobs in the UK by 2020 – develop to its full potential. It warned that without investment jobs could go overseas.

and

Maria McCaffery, chief executive of RenewableUK, said that adopting “an overly cautious approach could allow other countries to steal Scotland’s lead”.

and

Dr Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland said: “This report is a reminder that we must continue investing in green, clean technologies of the future.”

Why does Scotland need to be taking a “lead”? What is the benefit? If the deal is so good, why are private investors not lining up to provide the funds? Is it the job of Government to “invest”?


Inside Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown

March 6, 2012

Russ Finley has a terrific article describing the “unsensational” version of the events around the failure of the the Daiichi Power Plants during the 2010 tsunami.

He focuses on reason and logic and demonstrates how that not in in play in most coverages. I liked his analogy to the how the airline industry could be covered:

For decades, anti-nuclear groups have played on people’s fears, conflating nuclear weapons with nuclear energy and exaggerating the radiation risks associated with it. If there were an airline equivalent of today’s anti-nuclear activists, the public might be told (for decades on end) that airline travel involves moving at 500 miles an hour, thirty thousand feet above the ground, in air that is so cold and rarefied you would suffocate and/or freeze within minutes without protection, in a (literally) paper-thin tube of pressurized aluminum, managed by a large for-profit corporation with razor thin profit margins. Oh, and they can be also used by terrorists as flying bombs. We would see footage of mangled bodies, corroded structure, and interviews of grieving loved ones. Come to think of it, that does sound scary.

These hypothetical anti-airline activists might lobby politicians to foil attempts by airlines to properly deal with waste, forcing them to store it on site as much of the nuclear industry has to do with its waste. On the other side there would be engineers and scientists trying to use reason, statistics, and rational arguments to counter irrational fear. They would use numbers to prove that airline travel is the safest way to travel per unit length traveled …ah, we should all be glad there are not significant numbers of anti-airline activists.


“To the nearest whole number, the percentage of the world’s energy that comes from wind turbines today is: zero.”

March 5, 2012

Another well considered essay in the “Spectator” magazine from prolific thinker and writer, Matt Ridley.

Bottom line:

If wind power was going to work, it would have done so by now.