Links for 2013-07-23

  • UK Internet censorship plan no less stupid than it was last year – Boing Boing

    Cory Doctorow’s long list of articles describing how the UK’s censorware-for-all plan is going to fail. I like this bit:

    When we argued our case to the vendor’s representative, he was categorical: any nudity, anywhere on [Boing Boing], makes it into a “nudity site” for the purposes of blocking. The vendor went so far as to state that a single image of Michelangelo’s David, on one page among hundreds of thousands on a site, would be sufficient grounds for a nudity classification. I suspect that none of the censorship advocates in the Lords understand that the offshore commercial operators they’re proposing to put in charge of the nation’s information access apply this kind of homeopathic standard to objectionable material.
    I guess this means the Daily Mail will be similarly classified as containing “nudity” and blocked, given their smut column on every page?

    (tags: daily-mail fail censorship censorware boing-boing michelangelo sculpture nudity uk politics filtering overblocking web internet)

  • Content Aware Typography

    Photoshop’s “Content Aware Fill” applied to text. some very cool results

    (tags: images cool art typography algorithms via:pentadact photoshop)

  • A Tour Inside CloudFlare’s Latest Generation Servers

    great transparency from CloudFront! Looking at their current 4th-gen rackmount server buildout — now with HP after Dell and ZT. Shitloads of SSDs for lower power and greater predictability in failure rates. 128GB RAM. consistent hashing to address stores instead of RAID. Sandybridge chipset. Solarflare SFC9020 10Gbps network cards. This is really impressive openness for a high-scale custom datacenter server platform…

    (tags: datacenter cloudflare hardware rackmount ssds intel)

  • 3D-Printer Manufacturer Creates Software Filter To Prevent Firearm Printing

    ‘[Create It REAL], which sells 3D printer component parts and software, recently announced that it has come up with a firearm component detection algorithm that will give 3D printers the option to block any gun parts. The software compares each component a user is trying to print with a database of potential firearms parts, and shuts down the modeling software if it senses the user is trying to make a gun.’

    (tags: blocklists filtering guns weapons 3d-printing future firearms)

  • Fund it :: Upstart Granby Park

    help fund Granby Park, a pop-up park to replace a vacant site on the corner of Dominick St and Parnell St in Dublin 1: http://upstart.ie/

    (tags: fund-it granby-park dublin d1 parks pop-up city funding grassroots)

  • Rooting SIM cards

    the details of Karsten Nohl’s attack against SIM cards, allowing remote-root malware via SMS.

    Cracking SIM update keys: [Over The Air] commands, such as software updates, are cryptographically-secured SMS messages, which are delivered directly to the SIM. While the option exists to use state-of-the-art AES or the somewhat outdated 3DES algorithm for OTA, many (if not most) SIM cards still rely on the 70s-era DES cipher. […] To derive a DES OTA key, an attacker starts by sending a binary SMS to a target device. The SIM does not execute the improperly signed OTA command, but does in many cases respond to the attacker with an error code carrying a cryptographic signature, once again sent over binary SMS. A rainbow table resolves this plaintext-signature tuple to a 56-bit DES key within two minutes on a standard computer.
    2 minutes. Sic transit gloria DES. The next step after that is to send a signed request to run a Java applet, then exploit a hole in the JVM sandbox, and the SIM card is rooted. Looking forward to the full paper on July 31st…

    (tags: des 3des crypto security sms sim-cards smartcards java applets ota rainbow-tables cracking karsten-nohl)

  • Machine Learning Speeds TCP

    Cool. A machine-learning-generated TCP congestion control algorithm which handily beats sfqCoDel, Vegas, Reno et al. But:

    “Although the [computer-generated congestion control algorithms] appear to work well on networks whose parameters fall within or near the limits of what they were prepared for — even beating in-network schemes at their own game and even when the design range spans an order of magnitude variation in network parameters — we do not yet understand clearly why they work, other than the observation that they seem to optimize their intended objective well. We have attempted to make algorithms ourselves that surpass the generated RemyCCs, without success. That suggests to us that Remy may have accomplished something substantive. But digging through the dozens of rules in a RemyCC and ?guring out their purpose and function is a challenging job in reverse-engineering. RemyCCs designed for broader classes of networks will likely be even more complex, compounding the problem.” So are network engineers willing to trust an algorithm that seems to work but has no explanation as to why it works other than optimizing a specific objective function? As AI becomes increasingly successful the question could also be asked in a wider context.  
    (via Bill de hOra)

    (tags: via-dehora machine-learning tcp networking hmm mit algorithms remycc congestion)

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