* Bruce Schneier doesn’t need steganography to hide data in innocent-looking files. He just pounds it in with his fist.
* Bruce Schneier’s secure handshake is so strong, you won’t be able to exchange keys with anyone else for days.
* Most people use passwords. Some people use passphrases. Bruce Schneier uses an epic passpoem, detailing the life and works of seven mythical Norse heroes.
I have been reading very carefully through all the Sunday newspapers to try and analyse the truth from all the scores of pages claiming to detail the so-called bomb plot. Unlike the great herd of so-called security experts doing the media analysis, I have the advantage of having had the very highest security clearances myself, having done a huge amount of professional intelligence analysis, and having been inside the spin machine.
So this, I believe, is the true story.
None of the alleged terrorists had made a bomb. None had bought a plane ticket. Many did not even have passports, which given the efficiency of the UK Passport Agency would mean they couldn’t be a plane bomber for quite some time.
In the absence of bombs and airline tickets, and in many cases passports, it could be pretty difficult to convince a jury beyond reasonable doubt that individuals intended to go through with suicide bombings, whatever rash stuff they may have bragged in internet chat rooms.
What is more, many of those arrested had been under surveillance for over a year – like thousands of other British Muslims. And not just Muslims. Like me. Nothing from that surveillance had indicated the need for early arrests.
Then an interrogation in Pakistan revealed the details of this amazing plot to blow up multiple planes – which, rather extraordinarily, had not turned up in a year of surveillance. Of course, the interrogators of the Pakistani dictator have their ways of making people sing like canaries. As I witnessed in Uzbekistan, you can get the most extraordinary information this way. Trouble is it always tends to give the interrogators all they might want, and more, in a desperate effort to stop or avert torture. What it doesn’t give is the truth.
The gentleman being “interrogated” had fled the UK after being wanted for questioning over the murder of his uncle some years ago. That might be felt to cast some doubt on his reliability. It might also be felt that factors other than political ones might be at play within these relationships. Much is also being made of large transfers of money outside the formal economy. Not in fact too unusual in the British Muslim community, but if this activity is criminal, there are many possibilities that have nothing to do with terrorism.
We then have the extraordinary question of Bush and Blair discussing the possible arrests over the weekend. Why? I think the answer to that is plain. Both in desperate domestic political trouble, they longed for “Another 9/11″. The intelligence from Pakistan, however dodgy, gave them a new 9/11 they could sell to the media. The media has bought, wholesale, all the rubbish they have been shovelled.
Based on the claims in the media, it sounds like the idea was to mix H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide, but not the low test kind you get at the pharmacy), H2SO4 (sulfuric acid, of necessity very concentrated for it to work at all), and acetone (known to people worldwide as nail polish remover), to make acetone peroxides. You first have to mix the H2O2 and H2SO4 to get a powerful oxidizer, and then you use it on acetone to get the peroxides, which are indeed explosive.
A mix of H2O2 and H2SO4, commonly called “piranha bath”, is used in orgo labs around the world for cleaning the last traces out of organic material out of glassware when you need it *really* clean — thus, many people who work around organic labs are familiar with it. When you mix it, it heats like mad, which is a common thing when you mix concentrated sulfuric acid with anything. It is very easy to end up with a spattering mess. You don’t want to be around the stuff in general. Here, have a look at a typical warning list from a lab about the stuff:
Now you may protest “but terrorists who are willing to commit suicide aren’t going to be deterred by being injured while mixing their precursor chemicals!” — but of course, determination isn’t the issue here, getting the thing done well enough to make the plane go boom is the issue. There is also the small matter of explaining to the guy next to you what you’re doing, or doing it in a tiny airplane bathroom while the plane jitters about.
Now, they could of course mix up their oxidizer in advance, but then finding a container to keep the stuff in that isn’t going to melt is a bit of an issue. The stuff reacts violently with *everything*. You’re not going to keep piranha bath in a shampoo bottle — not unless the shampoo bottle was engineered by James Bond’s Q. Glass would be most appropriate, assuming that you could find a way to seal it that wouldn’t be eaten.
So, lets say you have your oxidizer mixture and now you are going to mix it with acetone. In a proper lab environment, that’s not going to be *too* awful — your risk of dying horribly is significant but you could probably keep the whole thing reasonably under control — you can use dry ice to cool a bath to -78C, say, and do the reaction really slowly by adding the last reactant dropwise with an addition funnel. If you’re mixing the stuff up in someone’s bathtub, like the guys who bombed the London subways a year ago did, you can take some reasonable precautions to make sure that your reaction doesn’t go wildly out of control, like using a lot of normal ice and being very, very, very careful and slow. You need to keep the stuff cool, and you need to be insanely meticulous, or you’re going to be in a world of hurt.
(read the rest as well, it’s great)
I think the FAA needs to read this
An Ohio school board is expanding sex education following the revelation that 13 percent of one high school’s female students were pregnant last year.
There were 490 female students at Timken High School in 2005, and 65 were pregnant, WEWS-TV in Cleveland reported.
The new Canton school board program promotes abstinence but also will teach students who decide to have sex how to do so responsibly, bringing the city school district’s health curriculum in line with national standards.
The board made the changes in a vote at its regular meeting Monday.
The Rev. David Morgan served on a committee that developed the lesson plans. He said the new curriculum moves beyond the “Just Say No” approach.
Health textbooks, older than some students, will be replaced.
Welsh-speaking cyclists have been left baffled – and possibly concerned for their health – after a bizarre translation mix-up.
For instead of a road sign telling them to dismount, the Welsh translation informs them that ‘bladder disease has returned’.
The three Dallas-area men arrested in Michigan on state terrorism charges are well-known to cell phone wholesale and retail shops here, where managers said Monday they are part of a brisk trade in buying phones from Wal-Mart and other discount stores and reselling them to smaller shops.
In Michigan, meanwhile, the FBI said it has no information to indicate that the three Palestinian-Americans arrested with about 1,000 cell phones in their van on Friday had any connections to terrorism.
Well that sucks, I was all worked up into a horrified lump of putty. I even pissed my pants, twice. Now what am I supposed to fear?
If you ever get asked by a cynic, or your management “what’s the real value of being green?,” I can give you a very specific answer, at least for Sun. In the State of California, it’s worth $700 to $1000 per server. I did say per server. Every single bid we’re in across the state just got $700 to $1,000 per server more competitive.
With ASP’s under $5,000 for a Niagara machine, that’s not a little competitive push.
That’s real power.
Brein beschikt wel degelijk over namen van UPC-abonnees die worden verdacht van het uploaden van muziek.
Vanmiddag zei UPC tegen Planet Multimedia dat er geen namen verstrekt zouden worden.
Het bedrijf meldde vervolgens in een persbericht: “Er verschijnen in de media momenteel berichten dat UPC de klantgegevens van enkele van haar abonnees overhandigd zou hebben aan de Stichting Brein. Dit is niet juist. UPC heeft geen klantgegevens aan de Stichting Brein verstrekt.”
“We wachten de uitkomst van het kort geding toch maar af. het lijkt ons niet verstandig om nu een paar namen te verstrekken en één naam niet te verschaffen”, zei de woordvoerder in eerste instantie vanmiddag.
Nu zegt hij het volgende: “Brein beschikt, vanuit de stukken van de rechtszitting wel over NAW-gegevens van twee abonnees.”
Police are investigating how a 12-year-old boy with neither a passport nor a boarding pass was able to walk on to an international flight at Gatwick at a time when security staff were supposed to be on high alert.
The child, who had run away from a care home, boarded a plane bound for Portugal early on Monday, even though security had been raised amid fears of a terrorist attack.
Do you feel safer yet?
Vanmorgen reed voor het eerst in de Nederlandse geschiedenis een Formule 1-wagen over de snelweg. Robert Doornbos, haalde in zijn Red Bull Racing bolide op de A7 bij de Afsluitdijk een snelheid van maar liefst 326 kilometer per uur!
Het doorgaans rustige Den Oever werd vanmorgen om 10.54 uur opgeschrikt door het geluid van een voorbijrazend Formule 1-auto. Op dit tijdstip ging namelijk, op de speciaal voor deze gelegenheid afgezette A7, een jongensdroom van Formule 1-coureur Robert Doornbos in vervulling.
Hoewel Nederland sinds 1985 geen Formule 1 Grand Prix meer op eigen bodem heeft, kwam vanmorgen toch het gevoel weer even terug toen Robert Doornbos met ongekende snelheid richting het monument op de dijk raasde. Daar aangekomen draaide hij een aantal spectaculaire donuts om vervolgens zijn Formule 1-auto op de parkeerplaats stil te zetten.
Bronnen melden overigens dat de Red Bull Racing coureur op het traject is geflitst. De hoogte van de boete is niet bekend.
The government faces criticism over plans to give police powers to make suspects produce readable copies of encrypted computer evidence.
The police say the powers are needed because criminals are increasingly using encryption to hide evidence.
They estimate that currently there are 30 cases in which encrypted evidence had stumped investigators.
But some peers, academics and cryptographers say the plans are flawed and risk being abused.
The plans to let police demand decryption are part of the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) that came into force in 2000.
Part III of RIPA gives law enforcement agencies the decryption powers and, provided some conditions are met, makes it a serious offence to refuse to turn scrambled files into an “intelligible” form. Those refusing could see their sentence increased as a result.
Professor Douwe Korff, said there was a real question as to whether the powers undermined the presumption of innocence that human rights legislation enshrines. The code of conduct had to be beefed up, he said, to ensure high standards protected fundamental rights.
Lord Phillips of Sudbury described RIPA as a “hair-raising” piece of legislation and expressed reservations about the effect the powers being given to police would have.
“You do not secure the liberty of our country and value of our democracy by undermining them,” he said. “That’s the road to hell.”