Bitcoin is down but not out

bitcoin-logo-3dRegular readers will know that I’ve had my doubts about Bitcoin. Recent events in the Bitcoin world, especially the failure of Mt. Gox, the biggest Bitcoin exchange, have caused further problems for the crypto currency. But I’m oddly cheered by these events and am beginning to think Bitcoin may actually have a chance of surviving as a currency.

Willy Sutton, who made his career robbing banks, once explained that he robbed them “because that’s where the money is.” Well recent bad news in the world of Bitcoin follows a similar theme: yes there have been thefts, corruption, and a suicide, but all this is based not on Bitcoin’s failure but […]

The Internet of Crap

silverchambersCisco CEO John Chambers gave a keynote speech last week at the Consumer Electronics Show laying out Cisco’s vision for what he called the Internet of Everything and other people are calling just the Internet of Things. The idea is very simple: put intelligence in every device and connect them all together on the Internet. And the idea behind the idea is even simpler: the everything is what we’ll first have to throw away. Because that’s the only way the Internet of Everything can work.

Throw away your routers, wireless and wired. Throw away your network adapters, wireless and wired. Throw away your modems. Throw away your network extenders. Throw away anything with a radio or […]

RSA takes one for the team, but which team?

RSA_EMCEdward Snowden says (according to Reuters) that RSA Security accepted $10 million from the National Security Agency in exchange for installing (or allowing to have installed) a secret backdoor so the NSA could decrypt messages as it pleased. Hell no says RSA (a division of storage vendor EMC), stating in very strong terms that this was not at all the case. But then in a second day look at the RSA/EMC statement bloggers began to see the company as dissembling, their firm defense as really more of a non-denial denial. So what’s the truth here and what’s the lesson?

For the truth I reached deep into the bowels of elliptic […]

Gallows humor for the NSA privacy debate

williamsessionsIt’s hard to believe sometimes, but I began writing this column — in print back then — during the Reagan Administration. It was 1987 and the crisis du jour was called Iran-Contra, remember it? Colonel Oliver North got a radio career out of breaking federal law. The FBI director back then was William Sessions, generally called Judge Sessions because he had been a federal judge. I interviewed Sessions in 1990 about the possibility that American citizens might have their privacy rights violated by an upcoming electronic surveillance law. “What would keep an FBI agent from tapping his girlfriend’s telephone?” I asked, since it would shortly be possible to do so from the agent’s desk.

“It would never […]

The Google File System makes NSA’s hack blatantly illegal and they know it

nsa_google_snoopThe latest Edward Snowden bombshell that the National Security Agency has been hacking foreign Google and Yahoo data centers is particularly disturbing. Plenty has been written about it so I normally wouldn’t comment except that the general press has, I think, too shallow an understanding of the technology involved. The hack is even more insidious than they know.

The superficial story is in the NSA slide (above) that you’ve probably seen already. The major point being that somehow the NSA — probably through the GCHQ in Britain — is grabbing virtually all Google non-spider web traffic from the Google Front End Servers, because that’s where the SSL encryption is decoded.

Yahoo has no such encryption.

The major point […]