Thursday, February 19, 2015

the epitome of incompetent governance and illegitimate social control...,

telegraph |  Hong Kong’s unpopular chief executive has infuriated pro-democracy campaigners by using a Chinese New Year message to urge the former colony's citizens to act more "like sheep". 

In a brief video address commemorating the start of Year of the Sheep, CY Leung said sheep-like behavior was required in the wake of the turbulence caused by last year’s street protests.
“Last year was no easy ride for Hong Kong. Our society was rife with differences and conflicts,” the chief executive of the former British colony said.
“In the coming year, I hope that all people in Hong Kong will take inspiration from the sheep's character and pull together in an accommodating manner to work for Hong Kong's future.”
In case his message had been missed, Mr Leung noted that the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac had 12 individual "character types". "Sheep are widely seen to be mild and gentle animals living peacefully in groups," he said.


woodensplinter said...

All modern computer equipment is driven by logic boards (such as what
drives a Hard Drive). These logic boards each contain their own

Decades ago these boards had PROM chips on
them. PROM is Programmable Read Only Memory. PROM chips are programmed
once then never change. PROM was quite secure, since they only way to
insert a 'trojan horse' was to physically replace the real PROM with a
doctored PROM. This was a terribly difficult and expensive thing to do,
and hardly anyone bothered.

Some years later, PROM chips became EPROM chips. EPROM could be erased and
re-programmed, but this required pulling them out of the circuit board
and popping them in a special UV eraser box.

Eventually EEPROM chips became the
standard. EEPROM chips are *electronically erasable*, which means they
can be erased and reprogrammed *still attached to their circuit board*.
Anyone who has ever updated Firmware on a device has done this. This
makes EEPROM technology very convenient, if also less insecure.

By 2002 it was known, within the hacker community, that sophisticated
attackers could, and did, attack the EEPROM layer. I've never heard of
this 'Equation Group', by that name, before this recent media blitz.

For example, an *un*sophisticated attacker might gain full control of a
computer (aka 'root') and plant malware *on the hard drive*. This is
simple and easy to do. This is also detectable, because the data is

there on the hard drive. A full disk format and OS re-install fixes this.

A truly skilled and sophisticated attacker, on the other hand, might
gain 'root' access and be very careful not to alter anything on the
hard drive, because that might be detected. Instead, the sophisticated
attacker will reprogram EEPROMs on the hard drive device and/or main
board and put malware there. If done correctly this does not interfere
with ordinary operations, is *nearly undetectable*, and leaves no
imprint on any measurable media. I started hearing about this
technique, as a practical attack vector, circa 2002. This is what
Kaspersky claims to be able to detect. Kaspersky claims to have found
traces of such hacking all over the place, going back many years. This
claim is quite plausible. In fact, now that they seemingly know how to
sometimes detect it, I'd be surprised if they didn't find such
tampering literally *all* *over* the place. Once such techniques exist
manually it's a small matter to automate them, and an equally small
task to make them self-propagating.

A typical modern computer has several thousand kB of unused space in
various on-board EEPROMS. This is enough space for some very effective
malware. Normally this is not enough storage space to do much but,
again, we're talking about very sophisticated hackers. For example,
evolutionary programming techniques are
able to compress a great deal of functionality into what seems like an
absurdly short string of bits.