Tuesday, June 03, 2014

What I am reading 6/3/2014 - Bad Coal, Bad Bad Dirty Coal and a Cryptolocker Update

Gizmodo - How Obama's Power Plant Regulations Will Transform Our Electric Grid - 

Moving away from coal, which generates over one-third of our energy, means potentially huge changes to our electricity infrastructure. But these changes are not meant to be drastic or draconian (though the energy industry will certainly argue otherwise). The EPA's draft proposal is by design flexible, allowing individual states to choose from a menu of options. The EPA doesn't want coal-fired plants to shut down right away, as rolling blackouts would only mean backlash.
The EPA's factsheet identifies four "building blocks" for states to create their own plan to reduce carbon emissions.
  1.  Make coal-fired plants more efficient by reducing the energy lost through heat.
  2. Use natural gas instead of coal, which is cleaner not actually clean. It's also incredibly cheap thanks to our fracking boom. (More on this later!)
  3. More clean energy resources such as solar, wind, nuclear, wave, etc.
  4. Teach consumers to use less electricity

I guarantee you that when it comes time to approve plans the only acceptable options will be 3 and 4.  I also guarantee that electricity rates will skyrocket.  Maybe we should just take a page from India's book and only supply electricity for 30% of the country.  

InfoWorld via SlashdotBeware the next circle of hell: Unpatchable systems - 

For industrial control systems, customer trust in unsupported and unsupportable embedded devices is a disaster in waiting. In one recent example, Cerrudo and his colleagues investigated the security of in-pavement wireless vehicle detection technology made by Sensys Networks. The technology has been deployed in 40 U.S. cities, including Washington, New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
They discovered a wide range of design faults and insecurities in the Sensys products. Notably, the in-road sensors did not secure communications with access points used to collect data. That would allow a knowledgeable attacker to spoof the sensors and send bogus data to traffic management systems or to take control of critical infrastructure such as traffic lights.
Presented with IOActive's findings, Sensys Networks told Cerrudo that more recent releases of the company's hardware had fixed some of the prominent software vulnerabilities he had discovered. The problem: There is no way to update the hardware.
Welcome to my world.

The Register - Supreme Court nixes idea of 'indirect' patent infringement -

The ruling overturns an infringement decision against content delivery network operator Limelight. Rival Akamai had charged that Limelight had partially infringed upon its patents for delivering content over private networks, then provided its customers with instructions on how to perform the final steps in the process.
In issuing the ruling, the court said that in order for a group or individual to be found in violation of a patent, that single party must perform all the steps involved in the infringement. As end users performed the final steps in its process, Limelight could not be found liable

I'm thinking at this rate the Federal Circuit is likely to supplant the 9th Circuit as the most overturned Court of Appeals

Wired - Measuring the Complexity of the Law -

 In a working paper titled “Measuring the Complexity of the Law: The United States Code”, Daniel Katz and Michael Bommarito of Michigan State University recently set out to measure exactly that. They attempted to quantitatively measure the complexity of the United States Code, using what is roughly a metric for how hard it is to understand it. The U.S. Code is essentially the collection of all federal laws, and consists of 51 Titles, or sections, that each deal with different topics. For example, Title 11 is related to bankruptcy, Title 26 is our tax code, and Title 39 deals with our postal service. 
No surprise, the tax code was very complex.  I am sure the IRS considers that a feature not a bug.

NY Times - Secret Global Strike Kills 2 malicious Web Viruses -

Federal agents over the weekend secretly seized control of two computer networks that hackers used to steal millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims. In doing so, the Justice Department disrupted the circulation of two of the world’s most pernicious viruses and turned a 30-year-old Russian computer hacker into a most-wanted fugitive.
The strike, coordinated with the European authorities, was aimed at malware called GameOver Zeus, which is known to steal bank information and send it to overseas hackers, and CryptoLocker, which burrows into computers and encrypts personal data. The hackers then demand a ransom to unlock the files.

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