Archive for February, 2007

Insecure kiosks at security conference

The kiosk PCs at the RSA conference are running Windows XP, logged in as Administrator. (Updated: Wired has pictures) Any user could install spyware to intercept the next users’ passwords and data. You’d think a security conference would have… secure infrastructure?

In related news, Microsoft says Vista is the most secure version of Windows so far – yet not perfect – but blames the users for security issues. Craig Mundie, now responsible fo security at Microsoft, said at RSA:

“The challenges we face in building our products, and the challenges everybody faces in administering and using them, is that humans are humans and they make mistakes.”

What we need then is software for human beings.

OLPC Security++

Ivan Krstic, co-author of The Official Ubuntu Book, is responsible for security of the OLPC “$100” XO laptop. In this Wired article he is quoted on the subject of security warnings on PCs, saying that the XO laptop won’t include any of the typical scary OK/Cancel security prompts:

“How can you expect a 6-year-old to make a sensible decision when 40-year-olds can’t?” Krstic asked in a session at the RSA Conference. Those boxes simply train users to check “yes,” he argued.

One could make the reverse comparison these days too – if a 6 year old can’t operate an electronic device, there’s definitely no hope for the 40 year olds!

I hope this approach makes it into mainstream computing. I’m sure the Ubuntu community is taking note…

PS I still have a copy of The Official Ubuntu Book, signed by Jono Bacon, Mako Hill and Ivan Krstic available as a giveaway or prize for the Ubuntu-ZA community. All you have to do is come up with a competition to benefit the community.

Nokia E61 vs Nokia 9500

I “upgraded” my Nokia 9500 and chose the E61 to replace it. The E61’s nice and light in comparison to the brick that is the 9500, and does have some good improvements, but other features are lacking. The 9500 runs Symbian 7 on the Series 80 platform, whereas the E61 runs Symbian 9.1 on Series 60 3rd edition. I guess these were developed by different groups without a common spec, so they had different interpretations of the important features.

Anyway, here’s what I like more about the E61: Continue reading ‘Nokia E61 vs Nokia 9500’

The Ubuntu-ZA Wiki

One of the primary resources of the Ubuntu-ZA local community (LoCo) team is its website, which is a Wiki. Using a wiki website is easy and enables the whole community to collaborate, but if you haven’t seen one in action before it may be a bit intimidating. So here’s what you need to know, to get involved!

Continue reading ‘The Ubuntu-ZA Wiki’