Links for 2017-08-12

  • Hyperscan

    a high-performance multiple regex matching library. It follows the regular expression syntax of the commonly-used libpcre library, yet functions as a standalone library with its own API written in C. Hyperscan uses hybrid automata techniques to allow simultaneous matching of large numbers (up to tens of thousands) of regular expressions, as well as matching of regular expressions across streams of data. Hyperscan is typically used in a DPI library stack. Hyperscan began in 2008, and evolved from a commercial closed-source product 2009-2015. First developed at Sensory Networks Incorporated, and later acquired and released as open source software by Intel in October 2015.  Hyperscan is under a 3-clause BSD license. We welcome outside contributors.
    This is really impressive — state of the art in parallel regexp matching has improved quite a lot since I was last looking at it. (via Tony Finch)

    (tags: via:fanf regexps regular-expressions text matching pattern-matching intel open-source bsd c dpi scanning sensory-networks)

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Links for 2017-08-11

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Links for 2017-08-08

  • Beard vs Taleb: Scientism and the Nature of Historical Inquiry

    The most interesting aspect of this Twitter war is that it is representative of a malaise that has stricken a good chunk of academics (mostly scientists, with a peppering of philosophers) and an increasing portion of the general public: scientism. I have co-edited an entire book, due out soon, on the topic, which features authors who are pro, con, and somewhere in the middle. Scientism is defined as the belief that the assumptions, methods of research, etc., of the natural sciences are the only ways to gather valuable knowledge or to answer meaningful questions. Everything else, to paraphrase Taleb, is bullshit. Does Taleb engage in scientism? Indubitably. I have already mentioned above his generalization from what one particular historian (Beard) said to “historians” tout court. But there is more, from his Twitter feed: “there is this absence of intellectual rigor in humanities.” “Are historians idiots? Let’s be polite and say that they are in the majority no rocket scientists and operate under a structural bias. It looks like an empirically rigorous view of historiography is missing.”

    (tags: history science scientism nassim-taleb argument debate proof romans britain mary-beard)

  • Google’s Response to Employee’s Anti-Diversity Manifesto Ignores Workplace Discrimination Law – Medium

    A workplace-discrimination lawyer writes:

    Stray remarks are not enough. But a widespread workplace discussion of whether women engineers are biologically capable of performing at the same level as their male counterparts could suffice to create a hostile work environment. As another example, envision the racial hostility of a workplace where employees, as Google put it, “feel safe” to espouse their “alternative view” that their African-American colleagues are not well-represented in management positions because they are not genetically predisposed for leadership roles. In short, a workplace where people “feel safe sharing opinions” based on gender (or racial, ethnic or religious) stereotypes may become so offensive that it legally amounts to actionable discrimination.

    (tags: employment sexism workplace discrimination racism misogyny women beliefs)

  • a list of all the nuclear war scenarios stored in the W.O.P.R. computer

    For fans of the movie WARGAMES: a list of all the nuclear war scenarios stored in the W.O.P.R. computer. (self.movies)
    (via burritojustice)

    (tags: via:burritojustice wargames movies wopr global-thermonuclear-war wwiii)

  • Nextflow – A DSL for parallel and scalable computational pipelines

    Data-driven computational pipelines Nextflow enables scalable and reproducible scientific workflows using software containers. It allows the adaptation of pipelines written in the most common scripting languages. Its fluent DSL simplifies the implementation and the deployment of complex parallel and reactive workflows on clouds and clusters.
    GPLv3 licensed, open source

    (tags: computation workflows pipelines batch docker ops open-source)

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Links for 2017-08-03

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Links for 2017-08-02

  • Malicious packages in npm

    The node.js packaging system is being exploited by bad guys to steal auth tokens at build time. This is the best advice they can come up with:

    Always check the name of packages you’re installing. You can look at the downloads number: if a package is popular but the downloads number is low, something is wrong.
    :facepalm: What a mess. Security needs to become a priority….

    (tags: javascript security npm node packaging packages fail)

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Links for 2017-08-01

  • Air Canada near-miss: Air traffic controllers make split-second decisions in a culture of “psychological safety” — Quartz

    “’Just culture’ as a term emerged from air traffic control in the late 1990s, as concern was mounting that air traffic controllers were unfairly cited or prosecuted for incidents that happened to them while they were on the job,” Sidney Dekker, a professor, writer, and director of the Safety Science Innovation Lab at Griffith University in Australia, explains to Quartz in an email. Eurocontrol, the intergovernmental organization that focuses on the safety of airspace across Europe, has “adopted a harmonized ‘just culture’ that it encourages all member countries and others to apply to their air traffic control organizations.” […] One tragic example of what can happen when companies don’t create a culture where employees feel empowered to raise questions or admit mistakes came to light in 2014, when an investigation into a faulty ignition switch that caused more than 100 deaths at GM Motors revealed a toxic culture of denying errors and deflecting blame within the firm. The problem was later attributed to one engineer who had not disclosed an obvious issue with the flawed switch, but many employees spoke of extreme pressure to put costs and delivery times before all other considerations, and to hide large and small concerns.
    (via JG)

    (tags: just-culture atc air-traffic-control management post-mortems outages reliability air-canada disasters accidents learning psychological-safety work)

  • Dark forces, Brexit and Irexit

    The EU have made it clear, as they have to, that there will be no frictionless borders between the union and the UK. Brexit will be dislocative.  As smaller irish companies start to go to the wall post Brexit expect the calls for “something to be done” to start to include Irexit [an Irish exit from the EU a la Brexit]. But this way madness lies. […] we export more in education services than in beverages ; we exportthree times or more manufactured goods than food; we export six times more in chemicals and related; value added by industry or by distribution and transport is more than 10 times that of agriculture. Seeking Irexit on the basis that it would be good for agribusiness is seeking to amputate a hand for a broken finger.

    (tags: agribusiness ireland irexit brexit economics eu politics)


    Some nice catalogue details around this Apollo 13 AEO:

    Apollo Earth Orbit Chart (AEO), Apollo Mission 13 for April 1970 Launch Date. March 3, 1970. Color Earth map, first edition. 13 by 42 inches. From the Catalogue: SIGNED and INSCRIBED: “JAMES LOVELL, Apollo 13 CDR and FRED HAISE, Apollo 13 LMP.” Additionally INSCRIBED by HAISE with mission events: “Launch at 2:13 pm EST, April 11, 1970” and “Splash – April 17, 1970.” He has marked the splashdown area with an “X.” Circular plots in black represent the ground station communication coverage areas with the red circle being the tracking ship Vanguard in the Atlantic Ocean. Orbital paths show the full launch range azimuths of 72 to 108 degrees. The first orbit is plotted in light blue with the second orbit in dark blue. The planned TLI (TransLunar Injection) burn occurred on time during the mission and is plotted with a red dashed line. The point above the Earth as Apollo 13 headed toward the Moon is shown with a brown line and continues for 24 hours of mission elapsed time. This line moves over the Pacific Ocean and into the continental United States. Then it moves backwards (relative to the Earth’s rotation) over the Pacific Ocean and ends near the west coast of Africa. The Service Module explosion occurred some 32 hours after end point of the TLI brown line tracking plot.

    (tags: aeo apollo history spaceflight collectibles antiques james-lovell fred-haise 1970 apollo-13 charts)

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Links for 2017-07-27

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Links for 2017-07-21

  • awslabs/aws-ec2rescue-linux

    Amazon Web Services Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) Rescue for Linux is a python-based tool that allows for the automatic diagnosis of common problems found on EC2 Linux instances.
    Most of the modules appear to be log-greppers looking for common kernel issues.

    (tags: ec2 aws kernel linux ec2rl ops)

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Links for 2017-07-20

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Links for 2017-07-13

  • Novartis CAR-T immunotherapy strongly endorsed by FDA advisory panel

    This is very exciting stuff, cytokine release syndrome risks notwithstanding.

    The new treatment is known as CAR-T cell immunotherapy. It works by removing key immune system cells known as T cells from the patient so scientists can genetically modify them to seek out and attack only cancer cells. That’s why some scientists refer to this as a “living drug.” Doctors then infuse millions of the genetically modified T cells back into the patient’s body so they can try to obliterate the cancer cells and hopefully leave healthy tissue unscathed. “It’s truly a paradigm shift,” said Dr. David Lebwohl, who heads the CAR-T Franchise Global Program at the drug company Novartis, which is seeking the FDA’s approval for the treatment. “It represents a new hope for patients.” The drug endorsed by the advisory panel is known as CTL019 or tisagenlecleucel. It was developed to treat children and young adults ages 3 to 25 who have relapsed after undergoing standard treatment for B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which is the most common childhood cancer in the United States. While this blood cell cancer can be highly curable, some patients fail to respond to standard treatments; and a significant proportion of patients experience relapses that don’t respond to follow-up therapies. “There is a major unmet medical need for treatment options” for these patients, Dr. Stephen Hunger, who helped study at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told the committee. In the main study that the company submitted as evidence in seeking FDA approval, doctors at 25 sites in 11 countries administered the treatment to 88 patients. The patients, ages 3 to 23, had failed standard treatment or experienced relapses and failed to respond to follow-up standard treatment. CTL019 produced remissions in 83 percent of patients, the company told the committee.

    (tags: car-t immunotherapy cancer novartis trials fda drugs t-cells immune-system medicine leukemia ctl019)

  • Chris’s Wiki :: blog/sysadmin/UnderstandingIODNSIssue

    On the security screwup for the .io CCTLD:

    Using data from glue records instead of looking things up yourself is common but not mandatory, and there are various reasons why a resolver would not do so. Some recursive DNS servers will deliberately try to check glue record information as a security measure; for example, Unbound has the harden-referral-path option (via Tony Finch). Since the original article reported seeing real .io DNS queries being directed to Bryant’s DNS server, we know that a decent number of clients were not using the root zone glue records. Probably a lot more clients were still using the glue records, through.
    (via Tony Finch)

    (tags: via:fanf dns security dot-io cctlds glue-records delegation)

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Links for 2017-07-12

  • DoppioJVM

    ‘A Java Virtual Machine written in 100% JavaScript.’ Wrapping outbound TCP traffic in websockets, mad stuff

    (tags: jvm java javascript js hacks browser emulation websockets)

  • One Man’s Plan to Make Sure Gene Editing Doesn’t Go Haywire – The Atlantic

    Open science – radical transparency where gene-editing and CRISPR is involved. Sounds great.

    “For gene drive, the closed-door model is morally unacceptable. You don’t have the right to go into your lab and build something that is ineluctably designed to affect entire ecosystems. If it escapes into the wild, it would be expected to spread and affect people’s lives in unknown ways. Doing that in secret denies people a voice.”
    Also this is a little scary:
    in 2015, he was shocked to read a paper, due to be published in … Science, in which Californian researchers had inadvertently created a gene drive in fruit flies, without knowing what gene drives are. They developed it as a research tool for spreading a trait among lab populations, and had no ambitions to alter wild animals. And yet, if any of their insects had escaped, that’s what would have happened.

    (tags: science openness open-source visibility transparency crispr gene-editing mice nantucket gene-drive)

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Links for 2017-07-11

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Links for 2017-07-06

  • The Guardian view on patient data: we need a better approach | Editorial | Opinion | The Guardian

    The use of privacy law to curb the tech giants in this instance, or of competition law in the case of the EU’s dispute with Google, both feel slightly maladapted. They do not address the real worry. It is not enough to say that the algorithms DeepMind develops will benefit patients and save lives. What matters is that they will belong to a private monopoly which developed them using public resources. If software promises to save lives on the scale that drugs now can, big data may be expected to behave as big pharma has done. We are still at the beginning of this revolution and small choices now may turn out to have gigantic consequences later. A long struggle will be needed to avoid a future of digital feudalism. Dame Elizabeth’s report is a welcome start.
    Hear hear.

    (tags: privacy law uk nhs data google deepmind healthcare tech open-source)

  • Why People With Brain Implants Are Afraid to Go Through Automatic Doors

    In 2009, Gary Olhoeft walked into a Best Buy to buy some DVDs. He walked out with his whole body twitching and convulsing. Olhoeft has a brain implant, tiny bits of microelectronic circuitry that deliver electrical impulses to his motor cortex in order to control the debilitating tremors he suffers as a symptom of Parkinson’s disease. It had been working fine. So, what happened when he passed through those double wide doors into consumer electronics paradise? He thinks the theft-prevention system interfered with his implant and turned it off. Olhoeft’s experience isn’t unique. According to the Food and Drug Administration’s MAUDE database of medical device reports, over the past five years there have been at least 374 cases where electromagnetic interference was reportedly a factor in an injury involving medical devices including neural implants, pacemakers and insulin pumps. In those reports, people detailed experiencing problems with their devices when going through airport security, using massagers or simply being near electrical sources like microwaves, cordless drills or “church sound boards.”

    (tags: internet-of-things iot best-buy implants parkinsons-disease emi healthcare devices interference)

  • Undefined Behavior in 2017

    This is an extremely detailed post on the state of dynamic checkers in C/C++ (via the inimitable Marc Brooker):

    Recently we’ve heard a few people imply that problems stemming from undefined behaviors (UB) in C and C++ are largely solved due to ubiquitous availability of dynamic checking tools such as ASan, UBSan, MSan, and TSan. We are here to state the obvious — that, despite the many excellent advances in tooling over the last few years, UB-related problems are far from solved — and to look at the current situation in detail.

    (tags: via:marc-brooker c c++ coding testing debugging dynamic-analysis valgrind asan ubsan tsan)

  • Talos Intelligence review of Nyetya and the M.E.Doc compromise

    Our Threat Intelligence and Interdiction team is concerned that the actor in question burned a significant capability in this attack.  They have now compromised both their backdoor in the M.E.Doc software and their ability to manipulate the server configuration in the update server. In short, the actor has given up the ability to deliver arbitrary code to the 80% of UA businesses that use M.E.Doc as their accounting software, along with any multinational corporations that leveraged the software.  This is a significant loss in operational capability, and the Threat Intelligence and Interdiction team assesses with moderate confidence that it is unlikely that they would have expended this capability without confidence that they now have or can easily obtain similar capability in target networks of highest priority to the threat actor.

    (tags: security malware nyetya notpetya medoc talos ransomware)

  • Use AWS WAF to Mitigate OWASP’s Top 10 Web Application Vulnerabilities

    ‘describes how you can use AWS WAF, a web application firewall, to address the top application security flaws as named by the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP). Using AWS WAF, you can write rules to match patterns of exploitation attempts in HTTP requests and block requests from reaching your web servers. This whitepaper discusses manifestations of these security vulnerabilities, AWS WAF–based mitigation strategies, and other AWS services or solutions that can help address these threats.’

    (tags: security waf aws http owasp filtering)

  • welcome datacomp

    Some Mac third party keyboards used to (or maybe still do for all I know) have a little feature where if you didn’t type anything for a while they would themselves type ‘welcome datacomp’.
    (via RobS)

    (tags: via:rsynnott funny welcome-datacomp keyboards hardware fail ghost-typing haunted)

  • La història del gran tauró blanc de Tossa de Mar

    Amazing pic and newspaper report regarding a great white shark which washed up on the beach at Tossa de Mar in the Costa Brava in the 1980s

    (tags: tossa-de-mar costa-brava spain sharks nature great-white-shark 1980s history photos wildlife)

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Links for 2017-07-05

  • Why did Apple, Amazon, Google stocks crash to the same price today?

    Nasdaq said in a statement that “certain third parties improperly propagated test data that was distributed as part of the normal evening test procedures.” “For July 3, 2017, all production data was completed by 5:16 PM as expected per the early close of the markets,” the statement continued. “Any data messages received post 5:16 PM should be deemed as test data and purged from direct data recipient’s databases. UTP (Unlisted Trading Privileges) is asking all third parties to revert to Nasdaq Official Closing Prices effective at 5:16 PM.”

    (tags: testing fail stock-markets nasdaq test-data test production integration-testing test-in-prod)

  • Exactly-once Support in Apache Kafka – Jay Kreps

    If you’re one of the people who think [exactly-once support is impossible], I’d ask you to take an actual look at what we actually know to be possible and impossible, and what has been built in Kafka, and hopefully come to a more informed opinion. So let’s address this in two parts. First, is exactly-once a theoretical impossibility? Second, how does Kafka support it.

    (tags: exactly-once-delivery distributed kafka distcomp jay-kreps coding broadcast)

  • Letters and Liquor

    These are lovely! (via Ben)

    Letters and Liquor illustrates the history of lettering associated with cocktails. From the 1690s to the 1990s, I’ve selected 52 of the most important drinks in the cocktail canon and rendered their names in period-inspired design. I post a new drink each week with history, photos and recipes. Don’t want to miss a single cocktail? Click here for email updates.

    (tags: cocktails text letters typography graphics history booze)

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Links for 2017-07-03

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Links for 2017-06-30

  • Don’t Settle For Eventual Consistency

    Quite an argument. Not sure I agree, but worth a bookmark anyway…

    With an AP system, you are giving up consistency, and not really gaining anything in terms of effective availability, the type of availability you really care about.  Some might think you can regain strong consistency in an AP system by using strict quorums (where the number of nodes written + number of nodes read > number of replicas).  Cassandra calls this “tunable consistency”.  However, Kleppmann has shown that even with strict quorums, inconsistencies can result.10  So when choosing (algorithmic) availability over consistency, you are giving up consistency for not much in return, as well as gaining complexity in your clients when they have to deal with inconsistencies.

    (tags: cap-theorem databases storage cap consistency cp ap eventual-consistency)

  • Delivering Billions of Messages Exactly Once · Segment Blog

    holy crap, this is exactly the wrong way to build a massive-scale deduplication system — with a monster random-access “is this random UUID in the db” lookup

    (tags: deduping architecture horror segment messaging kafka)

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Links for 2017-06-28

  • Mozilla Employee Denied Entry to the United States

    Ugh. every non-USian tech worker’s nightmare. curl developer Daniel Stenberg:

    “I can’t think of a single valid reason why they would deny me travel, so what concerns me is that somehow someone did and then I’m worried that I’ll get trouble fixing that issue,” Stenberg said. “I’m a little worried since border crossings are fairly serious matters and getting trouble to visit the US in the future would be a serious blowback for me, both personally with friends and relatives there, and professionally with conferences and events there.”

    (tags: curl travel mozilla esta us-politics usa immigration flying)

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Links for 2017-06-27

  • RIPE Atlas Probes

    Interesting! We discussed similar ideas in $prevjob, good to see one hitting production globally.

    RIPE Atlas probes form the backbone of the RIPE Atlas infrastructure. Volunteers all over the world host these small hardware devices that actively measure Internet connectivity through ping, traceroute, DNS, SSL/TLS, NTP and HTTP measurements. This data is collected and aggregated by the RIPE NCC, which makes the data publicly available. Network operators, engineers, researchers and even home users have used this data for a wide range of purposes, from investigating network outages to DNS anycasting to testing IPv6 connectivity. Anyone can apply to host a RIPE Atlas probe. If your application is successful (based on your location), we will ship you a probe free of charge. Hosts simply need to plug their probe into their home (or other) network. Probes are USB-powered and are connected to an Ethernet port on the host’s router or switch. They then automatically and continuously perform active measurements about the Internet’s connectivity, and this data is sent to the RIPE NCC, where it is aggregated and made publicly available. We also use this data to create several Internet maps and data visualisations. [….] The hardware of the first and second generation probes is a Lantronix XPort Pro module with custom powering and housing built around it. The third generation probe is a modified TP-Link wireless router (model TL-MR 3020) with a small USB thumb drive in it, but this probe does not support WiFi.
    (via irldexter)

    (tags: via:irldexter ripe ncc probing active-monitoring networking ping traceroute dns testing http ipv6 anycast hardware devices isps)

  • “BBC English” was invented by a small team in the 1920s & 30s

    Excellent twitter thread:

    Today we speak of “BBC English” as a standard form of the language, but this form had to be invented by a small team in the 1920s & 30s. 1/ It turned out even within the upper-class London accent that became the basis for BBC English, many words had competing pronunciations. 2/ Thus in 1926, the BBC’s first managing director John Reith established an “Advisory Committee on Spoken English” to sort things out. 3/ The committee was chaired by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, and also included American essayist Logan Pearsall Smith, 4/ novelist Rose Macaulay, lexicographer (and 4th OED editor) C.T. Onions, art critic Kenneth Clark, journalist Alistair Cooke, 5/ ghost story writer Lady Cynthia Asquith, and evolutionary biologist and eugenicist Julian Huxley. 6/ The 20-person committee held fierce debates, and pronunciations now considered standard were often decided by just a few votes.

    (tags: bbc language english history rp received-pronunciation pronunciation john-reith)

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  • Screen time guidelines need to be built on evidence, not hype | Science | The Guardian

    An open letter signed by about 100 scientists ‘from different countries and academic fields with research expertise and experience in screen time, child development and evidence-based policy.’

    If the government were to implement guidelines on screen-based technology at this point, as the authors of the letter suggest, this would be on the basis of little to no evidence. This risks the implementation of unnecessary, ineffective or even potentially harmful policies. For guidelines to have a meaningful impact, they need to be grounded in robust research evidence and acknowledge that children’s health and wellbeing is a complex issue affected by many other factors, such as socioeconomic status, relational poverty, and family environment – all of which are likely to be more relevant for children’s health and well-being than screens. For example, there is no consistent evidence that more screen time leads to less outdoor play; if anything the evidence indicates that screen time and physical outdoor activity are unrelated, and reductions in average time spent in outdoor play over time seem to be driven by other factors. Policy efforts to increase outdoor play that focus on screen time are therefore likely to be ineffective.
    (via Damien Mulley)

    (tags: via:damienmulley science children psychology screens screen-time childhood development evidence policy health open-letters)

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  • How Turla hackers (ab)used satellites to stay under the radar | Ars Technica

    A very nifty hack. DVB-S broadcasts a subset of unencrypted IP traffic across a 600-mile radius:

    The Turla attackers listen for packets coming from a specific IP address in one of these classes. When certain packets—say, a TCP/IP SYN packet—are identified, the hackers spoof a reply to the source using a conventional Internet line. The legitimate user of the link just ignores the spoofed packet, since it goes to an otherwise unopened port, such as port 80 or 10080. With normal Internet connections, if a packet hits a closed port, the end user will normally send the ISP some indication that something went wrong. But satellite links typically use firewalls that drop packets to closed ports. This allows Turla to stealthily hijack the connections. The hack allowed computers infected with Turla spyware to communicate with Turla C&C servers without disclosing their location. Because the Turla attackers had their own satellite dish receiving the piggybacked signal, they could be anywhere within a 600-mile radius. As a result, researchers were largely stopped from shutting down the operation or gaining clues about who was carrying it out. “It’s probably one of the most effective methods of ensuring their operational security, or that nobody will ever find out the physical location of their command and control server,” Tanase told Ars. “I cannot think of a way of identifying the location of a command server. It can be anywhere in the range of the satellite beam.”

    (tags: turla hacks satellite security dvb dvb-s tcpip command-and-control syn)

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