Tag: Thunderdome

How ’bout that Mirai Botnet

 

Do you remember that thing? It was the panic of the week last fall. Some jerks took large portions of the internet down for a couple hours. Everyone was in a tizzy for a bit. Well, the problem is still there. At least now nobody’s in a flail-your-arms panic over it, so maybe it’s worth discussing solutions.

Since there’s very little reason to remember the panic of the day even a week later, let me remind you how this works. A couple years back “Internet of Things” became the fashionable buzzword, so we all went out and bought WiFi enabled toasters. Now you can start toasting automatically when your alarm clock goes off. The fact that your toast will be ice cold by your seventh snooze is a small price to pay for living in The Future! But when you got your FutureToast, you didn’t bother to change the default password (it’s a hassle and if you did you’d forget the new one and what’s the worst that could happen anyway?) Mr. Nefarious Hacker sees that you’ve got a FutureToast, and he can log into it too. With your toaster and the 13,000 other ones that nobody’s changed the passwords on (and the 3300 GarageNoMores, and 4200 BlindsWithScience, and 132 HubCapConnects) he’s got access to a massive number internet connected devices. Mr. Nefarious Hacker can then use them to form punishing denial of service attacks, making the internet useless to the rest of us.

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People play games for different reasons. People are looking for different things out of the experience. There are many variants and shades of motivations, but broadly you can cut it down to two categories: I’m here to have fun. I’m here to win. Now real people are never only one thing or the other. Myself […]

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“They say American’s don’t play fair.” -Harry S Truman This coming from the man who dropped the atom bomb. Along those lines though, I don’t see how playing “fair” would have helped us fighting Imperial Japan or in our struggles with the Soviet Union. Preview Open

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“It is not half so important to know as it is to feel.” -Rachael Carson. For those of you who are trying to put a face to the name, Rachael Carson wrote the book Silent Spring, about the dangers of DDT. The subsequent DDT ban prevented malaria from being eradicated elsewhere in the globe like […]

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“Everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.” -Thomas Edison These cards are coming from a game of mine. That line is solid life advice, but it’s also sound strategy for the game. When you have no cards in play, no tricks up your sleeve, you can still talk. “Actually, in your situation I’d […]

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“Law is whatever is boldy asserted and plausibly maintained.” -Aaron Burr This is a proposition I turn over quite a bit in my mind. Is a law a law as it’s written on the books, or as it’s enforced by the state? Is a supreme court decision necessarily correct? What if one side was just better […]

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Samuel Johnson once opined on the prospect of a hanging, and the salubrious effect is has on one’s concentration. When a definite end is in site you stop worrying about all the things that you want to do, or need to do, or ought to do. You realize the few things that actually need to […]

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I work a ten-hour second shift job, which has many benefits, such as three-day weekends every week, being able to do most shopping at hours when there’s no one else around, and little to no supervision. I’m also fortunate to live within a couple blocks of an award-winning bakery (to be fair, I’m not sure […]

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Let’s say you’re playing chess. You make your move, confident that you’re giving him trouble, and you take your hand off the piece. As soon as you do, though, you see what you missed. If he moves his knight… there then he’s going to capture your queen the move after. What do you do? You […]

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There’s an old joke about two Hungarian gentleman who made a wager: who could think of the largest number? The first one thinks, and thinks, and says “Eighty-six”. The second one thinks, thinks, and then thinks some more, finally he says: “You win.” When contemplating infinity, one runs up against much the same problem as […]

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For the past couple days I’ve been attending GenCon, the largest gaming convention. This has been a wonderful experience, from seeing people play Robo Rally with actual LEGO robots to acquiring a rare, out-of-print expansion for a game of mine in the dealer hall. Wonderful things, but if you want to hear more about them […]

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Last night in this comment, I suggested @docjay for Surgeon General. This got me thinking which other Ricochetti would make for interesting additions to a Presidential administration, whether as Cabinet members or in other forms. I realize that there are contributors who have actually worked for Presidents here, but let’s go a little bit further […]

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“Think of all the great restaurants!” This is inevitably the first recourse whenever someone has to define the benefits of diversity. This argument always brings Philippians 3:19 to my mind, but even so it’s a point in favor. The logic of diversity is that people with different backgrounds bring different perspectives to the table, that […]

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Turn down the lights! It’s time for your weekly old time radio adventure as Ricochet and its affiliated stations bring you TALES FROM THE PIT, featuring the intrepid spies of Whiskey Sam Dagger Hate in this week’s daring tale! Click here for background on the legendary Ricochet Radio Network, and here and here for previous […]

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Brandon Sanderson is one of the most successful fantasy authors alive. He’s known for designing complex and engaging fantasy worlds and crafting elegant and interesting schemes of magic. This is not about that kind of magic. This weekend I attended Odyssey Con in Madison WI with Ricochet members Randy Weivoda and Matt Balzer. Mr. Sanderson […]

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They say you should learn something new every day. I learn the most wonderful things from bathroom stalls. The other night, eating breakfast at a Perkins I learned three things: that Def Leppard Sux, that to have a good time one no longer needs to call, one merely has to text, and that the sage […]

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If you consult your Funk & Wagnalls Abridged, you’ll learn that spring begins on the equinox. Then the most direct light from the sun hits the Equator, that geometric point moving on it’s journey  north to the Tropic of Cancer. Then we’ll see a Solstice and then Summer for three months. That’s all useful to […]

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This weekend I took a trip with Mr. Hank Rhody and other friends and family to the 18th annual Ice Cold Beer Fest in Minocqua, WI. It was my second visit, and despite the increase in participants this year it was still a good time, with this year’s strategy of sticking with a couple types […]

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