Four short links: 24 April 2018

IoT, Migrations, Prisoner's Dilemma, and Security

By Nat Torkington
April 24, 2018
  1. IoT Inspector — The Princeton University research team is digging into the traffic that IoT devices do, to identify malicious or otherwise dodgy behaviour. They want to know what IoT devices you have so they can test them. They’ll release their packet capture and analysis tool as open source. (via BoingBoing)
  2. Migrations (Will Larson) — very good explanation of how to manage migrations which are usually the only available avenue to make meaningful progress on technical debt. (via Simon Willison)
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  4. Beating the Prisoner’s Dilemma — In 2013 as the semester ended in December, students in Fröhlich’s “Intermediate Programming,” “Computer System Fundamentals,” and “Introduction to Programming for Scientists and Engineers” classes decided to test the limits of the policy, and collectively planned to boycott the final. Because they all did, a zero was the highest score in each of the three classes, which, by the rules of Fröhlich’s curve, meant every student received an A. How did they manage to avoid defection? (If just one student sat the test, that person would get an A and everyone else fail) The students waited outside the rooms to make sure that others honored the boycott, and were poised to go in if someone [broke the pact]. No one did, though. Prisoner’s Dilemma only works if the prisoners can’t communicate. (via Freakonomics and Ian Miers)
  5. Computer Security: The Achilles’ Heel of the Air Force? — incredibly prescient 1979 article on the important problems of security. The stories of repeatedly improving early systems like GCOS and MULTICS are super-interesting and rich with parallels for today. A contract cannot provide security. Basically, the same GCOS system was selected for a major command and control system. Advocates assured the users that it would be made multilevel secure because security was required by the contract. An extensive tiger team evaluation found there were many deep and complex security flaws that defied practical repair—the computer was finally deemed not only insecure but insecurable.
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