Review: Perlroth’s book on the cyberarms market

New York Times reporter Nicole Perlroth has written a book on zero-days and nation-state hacking entitled “This Is How They Tell Me The World Ends”. Here is my review.


I’m not sure what the book intends to be. The blurbs from the publisher implies a work of investigative journalism, in which case it’s full of unforgivable factual errors. However, it reads more like a memoir, in which case errors are to be expected/forgivable, with content often from memory rather than rigorously fact checked notes.


But even with this more lenient interpretation, there are important flaws that should be pointed out. For example, the book claims the Saudi’s hacked Bezos with a zero-day. I claim that’s bunk. The book claims zero-days are “God mode” compared to other hacking techniques, I claim they are no better than the alternatives, usually worse, and rarely used.


But I can’t really list all the things I disagree with. It’s no use. She’s a New York Times reporter, impervious to disagreement.


If this were written by a tech journalist, then criticism would be the expected norm. Tech is full of factual truths, such as whether 2+2=5, where it’s possible for a thing to be Continue reading

Flow-based monitoring for Magic Transit

Flow-based monitoring for Magic Transit
Flow-based monitoring for Magic Transit

Network-layer DDoS attacks are on the rise, prompting security teams to rethink their L3 DDoS mitigation strategies to prevent business impact. Magic Transit protects customers’ entire networks from DDoS attacks by placing our network in front of theirs, either always on or on demand. Today, we’re announcing new functionality to improve the experience for on-demand Magic Transit customers: flow-based monitoring. Flow-based monitoring allows us to detect threats and notify customers when they’re under attack so they can activate Magic Transit for protection.

Magic Transit is Cloudflare’s solution to secure and accelerate your network at the IP layer. With Magic Transit, you get DDoS protection, traffic acceleration, and other network functions delivered as a service from every Cloudflare data center. With Cloudflare’s global network (59 Tbps capacity across 200+ cities) and <3sec time to mitigate at the edge, you’re covered from even the largest and most sophisticated attacks without compromising performance. Learn more about Magic Transit here.

Using Magic Transit on demand

With Magic Transit, Cloudflare advertises customers’ IP prefixes to the Internet with BGP in order to attract traffic to our network for DDoS protection. Customers can choose to use Magic Transit always on or on demand. With always Continue reading

Taking A Superhybrid Approach To HPC/AI Convergence

AMD has been on such a run with its future server CPUs and server GPUs in the supercomputer market, taking down big deals for big machines coming later this year and out into 2023, that we might forget sometimes that there are many more deals to be done and that neither Intel nor Nvidia are inactive when it comes to trying to get their compute engines into upper echelon machines.

Taking A Superhybrid Approach To HPC/AI Convergence was written by Timothy Prickett Morgan at The Next Platform.

Building Snowflakes On Purpose

We all know that building snowflake networks is bad, right? If it’s not a repeatable process it’s going to end up being a problem down the road. If we can’t refer back to documentation to shows why we did something we’re going to end up causing issues and reducing reliability. But what happens when a snowflake process is required to fix a bigger problem? It’s a fun story that highlights where process can break down sometimes.

Reloaded

I’ve mentioned before that I spent about six months doing telephone tech support for Gateway computers. This was back in 2003 so Windows XP was the hottest operating system out there. The nature of support means that you’re going to be spending more time working on older things. In my case this was Windows 95 and 98. Windows 98 was a pain but it was easy to work on.

One of the most common processes we had for Windows 98 was a system reload. It was the last line of defense to fix massive issues or remove viruses. It was something that was second nature to any of the technicians on the help desk:

  1. Boot from the Gateway tools CD and use GWSCAN Continue reading

Video: High-Level Technology Guidelines

I concluded the Focus on Business Challenges First presentation (part of Business Aspects of Networking Technologies webinar) with a few technology guidelines starting with:

  • Be vendor-agnostic (always look around to see what others are doing);
  • Try to understand how the technology you’re evaluating really works (it will help you spot the potential problems before they crash your network);
  • Always select what’s best for your business, not for the sales quota of your friendly $vendor account manager.

For more guidelines, watch the video (available with Free ipSpace.net Subscription).

No, 1,000 engineers were not needed for SolarWinds

Microsoft estimates it would take 1,000 to carry out the famous SolarWinds hacker attacks. This means in reality that it was probably fewer than 100 skilled engineers. I base this claim on the following Tweet:


Yes, it would take Microsoft 1,000 engineers to replicate the attacks. But it takes a large company like Microsoft 10-times the effort to replicate anything. This is partly because Microsoft is a big, stodgy corporation. But this is mostly because this is a fundamental property of software engineering, where replicating something takes 10-times the effort of creating the original thing.

It's like painting. The effort to produce a work is often less than the effort to reproduce it. I can throw some random paint strokes on canvas with almost no effort. It would take you an immense amount of work to replicate those same strokes -- even to figure out the exact color of Continue reading

Creating serendipity with Python

Creating serendipity with Python

We've been experimenting with breaking up employees into random groups (of size 4) and setting up video hangouts between them. We're doing this to replace the serendipitous meetings that sometimes occur around coffee machines, in lunch lines or while waiting for the printer. And also, we just want people to get to know each other.

Which lead to me writing some code. The core of which is divide n elements into groups of at least size g minimizing the size of each group. So, suppose an office has 15 employees in it then it would be divided into three groups of sizes 5, 5, 5; if an office had 16 employees it would be 4, 4, 4, 4; if it had 17 employees it would be 4, 4, 4, 5 and so on.

I initially wrote the following code (in Python):

    groups = [g] * (n//g)

    for e in range(0, n % g):
        groups[e % len(groups)] += 1

The first line creates n//g (// is integer division) entries of size g (for example, if g == 4 and n == 17 then groups == [4, 4, 4, 4]). The for loop deals with the 'left over' parts that Continue reading

Changes Go Far Beyond Just AI, Machine Learning

SambaNova Systems is a technology startup founded in 2017 by a group of far-sighted engineers and data scientists who saw that the current approaches to AI and machine learning were beginning to run out of steam, and that an entire new architecture would be necessary in order to make AI accessible for everyone as well as deliver the scale, performance, accuracy and ease of use needed for future applications.

Changes Go Far Beyond Just AI, Machine Learning was written by Daniel Robinson at The Next Platform.

Captains Take 5 – Nick Janetakis

Docker Captains are select members of the community that are both experts in their field and are passionate about sharing their Docker knowledge with others. “Docker Captains Take 5” is a regular blog series where we get a closer look at our Captains and ask them the same broad set of questions ranging from what their best Docker tip is to whether they prefer cats or dogs (personally, we like whales and turtles over here). Today, we’re interviewing Nick Janetakis who has been a Docker Captain since 2016. He is a freelance full stack developer / teacher and is based in New York, United States.

How/when did you first discover Docker?

I was doing freelance web development work and kept running into situations where it was painful to set up my development environment for web apps created with Ruby on Rails. Different apps had different Ruby version requirements as well as needing different PostgreSQL and Redis versions too.

I remember running a manually provisioned Linux VM on my Windows dev box and did most of my development there. I even started to use LXC directly within that Linux VM.

That wasn’t too bad after investing a lot of time to Continue reading

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