Things of Your Day


My automotive life in the past week:




I work for Kaspersky Lab, actually. That press release he was reading was written 20 feet from my desk. His analysis was the same as I’ve been saying for months. This whole thing is a combination of fear-mongering over Russia and a NSA employee making poor decisions. I’ve seen nothing that indicates any shady dealings in any of the departments that I interact with globally literally ever.

Russia only accounts for about 20% of the company’s business model, and much of our virus research is done in Seattle, WA, not in Moscow. So it makes no sense from a business perspective to alienate the majority of our customer base. We have had FBI members come to interview people in our Boston area office, and nothing definitive ever came of it. Our CEO is a literal billionaire, and so it’s more likely that he’d be able to lobby the Russian government to do the things he wants than the other way around. He’s also volunteered to appear in front of Congress to discuss the allegations and attempt to clear up any misunderstanding, because he has yet to be presented with any concrete evidence of any wrongdoing, but Congress won’t take him up on his offer. All of this is publicly available info that no one in the media is focusing on.

If anyone really wants, I can even provide the direct email of some people in the company who can answer your questions directly and speak to this more clearly than I could.


The Thing of my day is that this is now available for less than I paid for the Intuous 3 tablet alone a decade ago. I got it today and it’s pretty fuckin great. Bye, Apple.


Can’t trust Lenovo ever again.


Who said anything about trusting them? I don’t trust Apple or Microsoft, either.


Apple can’t be trusted to avoid using slave labor, but they can be trusted to do their best to protect the privacy/security of their customers.


And to charge 3x more for half the functionality. And your data is only as safe as the programs you use on that Apple computer, so unless you’re using all Apple Software that’s a crap argument.

Not only can I not afford to spend over $1500 to replace my aging MacBook Pro with a machine that has no new features except it can cogitate at an acceptable speed, I don’t want to. I’m perfectly capable of aggressively uninstalling and limiting access of my apps. It’s one of the first things I do when setting up a new computer. Even an Apple one.


Can’t uninstall a rootkit in the IME.


You’re underestimating Putin’s ability to lean on Russia’s billionaires to get what he wants:

That all changed in July 2003 when Putin arrested Russia 's biggest oligarch and richest man, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Putin grabbed Khodorkovsky off his private jet, took him back to Moscow, put him on trial and allowed television cameras to film Khodorkovsky sitting in a cage right in the middle of the courtroom. That image was extremely powerful because none of the other oligarchs wanted to be in the same position. After Khodorkovsky’s conviction, the other oligarchs went to Putin and asked him what they needed to do to avoid sitting in the same cage as Khodorkovsky. From what followed, it appeared that Putin’s answer was,“Fifty per cent.” He wasn’t saying 50% for the Russian government or the presidential administration of Russia, but 50% for Vladimir Putin personally.

(Esquire Magazine: This Is How the Russian Kleptocracy Operates)

That said, for this individual case, I agree that it was most likely that Kaspersky wasn’t intentionally up to no good and it was probably due to the NSA employee’s poor decisions.


Yeah, that’s probably just me extrapolating US capitalist values to a country where it’s not really like that. One of my coworkers who lived in Moscow would tell stories of waking up every Saturday to the sound of tanks rolling down the street as the soldiers would hop out at every business to collect their shakedown money.

But the thing that people don’t realize is that even though Kaspersky’s HQ is based in Moscow, it’s a FAR more global business than you’d think.


It was a case of spies watching spies watching spies: Israeli intelligence officers looked on in real time as Russian government hackers searched computers around the world for the code names of American intelligence programs.

What gave the Russian hacking, detected more than two years ago, such global reach was its improvised search tool — antivirus software made by a Russian company, Kaspersky Lab, that is used by 400 million people worldwide, including by officials at some two dozen American government agencies.

The Israeli officials who had hacked into Kaspersky’s own network alerted the United States to the broad Russian intrusion, which has not been previously reported, leading to a decision just last month to order Kaspersky software removed from government computers.


I think I’ve finally come to terms with that if someone really wants to hack my computer and steal my credit card info and look at all my filthy porn and pirated mp3s of anime music I got on kazaa in ninth grade I really can’t really stop them. There’s always some vulnerability or some hack or some backdoor so I’m not going to lose sleep over esoteric tech wizardry hacks. I’ll keep my backups, virus protection, firewall, and everything else up to date and watch my credit report.


It’s all risk management to one degree or another. I really try to focus on some level of basic fundamental software security, but honestly I live my personal life like I’m aware someone could steal my identity. I barely use discord, and I used an insecure password with it that I’ve used in the past, and someone tried to log into my account yesterday. It’s a sort of known risk. Using a password manager on something portable so that you have your own personal sort of two-factor authentication is probably the biggest thing you can do for your own personal security. I don’t do it at the moment, but it does help mitigate some things. No using the same password in two places. Your private certs and keys can be put in the same place and everything else doesn’t need to have them stored. It doesn’t do anything for you when equifax gets breached or whatever, but it’s something.






Meant to post this yesterday, but you can’t have a Thanksgiving go by without listening to Alice’s Restaurant.