Yesterday it was announced that Google will abort its 7 year old child, the not very social network "Google Plus" following a databreach. Google Plus was preceeded in death by Google Buzz, the awkward twitter clone with a weird user interface, which was Google's first venture into social networking. After Google Buzz spent 22 months failing to gain traction, parent Google aborted Buzz in favor of Plus, which instead was a Facebook clone with an awkward circle centric user interface. The late Linus Torvalds kept an awkward approximation of a blog on the platform.
Various "national security" agencies in the US and Airstrip One are aggressively denying reports that server motherboards assembled in China for their darlings including Amazon and Apple by way of a defense contractor, contained hardware implants allowing for Chinese ownership of the machines (archived). The language of the denials, especially on the part of the afflicted darlings, involves substantial claims and fabrications of ignorace with respect to this particular embarrassing episode. At the same time the denials on the part of the companies are sufficiently slimey to likely evade claims of fraud over the denials when weighed according to the rituals performed by empire courts at a later date.
Given their hallucinations of immunity from claims, denials by "national security" agencies are rarely bounded by such cautions. Given the weight of incentives, hedging by parties that might have problems, and the contrasting boldness by parties imagining themselves to immunity from those problems… The credibility of these denials is very low.
Reports are emerging that retired FBI agent Monica McLean has had a substantial role in the coordinated campaign to derail US President Donald Trump's attempt to fill a vacancy in the judiciary (archived). McLean attempted to intimidate witness Leland Keyser into changing a neutral statement where asserted he did not recall knowing the accused during the period of the accusation and further did not recall being present at any events where the alleged acts took place into a verbatim conformation of the accusation. McLean suggested Keyser present her desired statement as a "clarification" of his earlier remarks. In the past McLean worked as a spokeszher for Preet Bharara, whose office routinely engaged in such tactics.
Bloomberg reports that servers used by Apple, Amazon, and others have been bugged using hardware implants thanks to China owning the supply chain. Bloomberg's report specifically mentions server boards commisioned by USG contractor Elemental and manufactured by California based Supermicro in China. Before Amazon became interested in Elemental, Elemental had contracted with the US Department of Defense to assist with surveillance drone video processing. The Chinese implant appears to work by tapping into the baseboard management controller, itself a USG backdoor.
A number of "leading academic journals" are reeling after an experiment being dubbed "Sokal 2.0" where so called "prestige journals" published hoax papers in their own areas of expertise (archived). Continue reading
IT workers Jon Sands and Adam Nielsen have disclosed their discovery of a vulnerability in the Dell iDRAC baseboard management controller firmware (archived). The vulnerability, as they discovered it, affects 12th and 13th generation Dell PowerEdge servers and allows attackers to place their own persistent linux installation on the baseboard management controller from which they own the machine. The limitations of the attack's scope as Sands and Nielsen have documented it does not suggest other versions of iDRAC are more secure. As a class, baseboard management controllers are hazardous.
The University of Brighton has taken an ambiguous position on a student sex worker support organization (archived). The organization in question appears to be a sloppy and incomplete implementation of The Gentlement Prefer Coeds Club, while still recognizing that a girl's only 19 once and there's a limited window to extract value from that. The Univeristy is denying that it supports prostitution while saying the organization's existance simply merits "investigation" as an estimated 1 in 6 students derives or has considered deriving income from working their sex.