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> He isn't world famous because of his skill, he was world famous because he was caught.

You're wrong. He's famous for a number of reasons, including a penchant for notoriety and the spotlight, but he was also a prolific pioneer of social engineering since before there was a term for it. He is/was amongst the best of the best of known social engineers.

I'd argue that social engineering is the most important skill for a hacker. And when he was "operational", he wasn't a "known", which leads me to...

> Being famous does not make you a good hacker, the best hackers will never be known.

This line may or may not be true, but it's tiring and obvious at this point.


It was called conning before it was called social engineering.


Tossing aside that Assange didn't actually make this statement: In 1996, the possibility that the NSA was sniffing the Internet was largely considered "tinfoil" even by most tech experts.

But anyone who read Bamford knew there was good circumstantial evidence that mass surveillance was occurring -- except back then, the bad word was "ECHELON", not "PRISM".

It's important to remember that while Snowden brought this to the masses (and to that we owe him a great debt), long before Snowden, we had Mark Klein, Binney, Cryptome, and James Bamford.

The NSA has been under strong suspicions for decades at this point. Back in the 80s, the exposes were about their mass surveillance of telephone calls. This was even in the popular press. There was a particular 60 Minutes episode that described a post worker shocked that she was intercepting a mom talking about her kid's soccer game in English.

Having lived through multiple very public NSA scandals over the decades, I think the only effective change will come from the grassroots: strong crypto, secure software, privacy focused. It sure as hell won't come from our lawmakers.


Except the next year, we saw: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnivore_%28software%29

I don't remember and can't find a citation as to when this became public knowledge but feel like it was not much later.

In face of future technology, it does not seem like strong crypto is the answer. Imagine, for instance, mass-scale audio surveillance, perhaps with lasers or microdrones or something. (I'm thinking decades out so I can handwave magical nanotech.) DNA sweeping to collect skin shedding or other stray cells to determine who was where (if face/body recog isn't enough).

We simply leak too much information everywhere to hope for technological solutions.


>Tossing aside that Assange didn't actually make this statement: In 1996, the possibility that the NSA was sniffing the Internet was largely considered "tinfoil" even by most tech experts.

In 1997 I was working at a company where we built and delivered all software by SUn and many other companies.

We had a Cisco 3640 that I inherited when I got there and I needed to recover the password.

I hired a CCIE to come in and walk me through the recovery and rebuild of this and the other Cisco gear I had at the time.

During the hours that we spent rebuilding the network, we talked a lot about security in general, cisco in specific, and I recall him telling me then "Cisco is required by the NSA to provide them a backdoor into all our routers".


This is not a myth. He was probably referring to the CALEA backdoors. You can Google for "cisco calea 6500" and obtain some public documentation.

It's more likely the FBI would actually interface to it and give said data to the NSA. But your point stands.

The NSA doesn't seem to like to directly interact with ISPs and corporations, so they have the FBI act as their public face, so to speak.


It's hard to provide solid answers as I don't know where this cabin is, but: High-speed? Probably not.

But, in most cases, your options are satellite or wireless point-to-point links off of nearby hills, which are quite expensive.

Wireless p2p links (WISP) generally need line of sight and don't handle trees in the way (especially when said trees are covered in rain or ice.

Satellite requires LOS to the south sky if you're in the US.

Fiber to your cabin would be more money than you had. (If you had such money, you wouldn't be asking about it on HN)


It'll be high-alpine Colorado somewhere, so lots of hills in the way, lots of snow in the winter (snowmobile access only), well water and solar/generator power. I figured anything wired would be out, as we're looking at at least 10 miles from the nearest major road.

I already do pretty well with low bandwidth (thank-you DVCS and virtualization), but telemedicine might be out for the missus.


> I've never heard of Apple doing this

An old example of this:



> Nobody is seriously going to fork this and create their own port of MSBuild

Except only a little project known as Mono [1]

> possibly one of the most mocked and reviled parts of the .NET ecosystem

News to me, people generally seem to like it.

1. https://twitter.com/migueldeicaza/status/237615174863958016


> I really hope Apple isn't going to make this a trend across their line

This model is a shot across the bow from Apple, but this model also isn't intended for programmers and IT professionals. It's meant for grandparents and a "lay about the house as needed" computer for (currently, rich) people. Apple differentiates things with a Pro line on purpose.

The original MacBook Air had a serious lack of ports and that didn't really trend across their line. It did not come with an Ethernet port, which instilled some major, major outrage. But since then, some of those bowshots have gained a foothold in the industry.

I have a MacBook Pro, and now it doesn't have a built-in Ethernet jack. But it's not a big deal at this point. Even as a network engineer, I only pull out my TBolt Ethernet adapter a couple times a week. The end effect is that I have less cables to deal with on a daily basis and I'm more mobile. I can plop down anywhere at work, open the laptop, get on wireless, and get chucked onto my special VLAN. This is way better than before.


Yep, I can see your points. My MacBook Pro is slightly older so I still have a ethernet port, but I can't remember the last time I plugged it in so its basically a waste of space. So it makes sense they are really looking at what's used etc.

Where I get nervous is things like USB, if you blow out one port you are ok if you have 2-3, but if you only have 1 its a bad day. Not that this is some regular or common occurrence, and typically I use a hub when connecting custom hardware, but it would suck if something failed and it blew out my only port on a machine. Hence my reason for hoping they keep the Pro series a little more flexible.


Virtually every niche of society considers others of their kind as eloquent, optimistic, and down-to-earth. This is a common perception in a group of people with shared passions. From artists, techies, to politicians and even Nazi Germany.



If you read what the author wrote, he implied that as outside observer he found software engineer eloquent, optimistic and down-to-earth. So he wasn't just reflecting group bias.

I got into software engineer by finding software engineer down-to-earth at least in the sense that it seemed you didn't have to engage in the posturing implicit in finance, say.

That seems to be gone in Silicone Valley but that might be only a small sample of the whole software world.


Wow, Godwin's law struck hard and fast. Was that reference really necessary?


Can't a person make a point that just happens to involve Nazis without someone invoking "Godwin's Law"?

It's like just because someone slapped a label on a thing we're not allowed to do the thing anymore. We need an "Anti-Godwin's Law" that states no mention of Nazis or Hitler can be made on the internet without someone inevitably invoking Godwin's Law.


Zike's Law: Whenever Nazi's are mentioned on the internet, someone inevitably mentions Godwin's Law.


Is there a law for mentioning Zike's law? (kinda serious)


I believe that's Kurotetsuka's law.


Apparently we've reached peak Godwin, everyone. Knock it off.


Godwin's law is rubbish. The Nazis are a strongly and consistently disavowed extreme group. They're a perfect tool when you need to cut across cultures and remove any chance of ambiguity. Their actions so despicable that comparing X performing Y1 to the Nazis performing Y2 is a good tool for reasoning about Y itself and the difference between Y1 and Y2.


Nazis had state sponsored scientific research and a national healthcare system (with certain, obvious exclusions).

It just seems nonsensically reductive to go 'the nazis did it! therefore its bad!'


I agree, however that's not what this thread is about.

The first poster essentially said "this is so normal, even Nazis do it".

We consider Nazis to be abnormal, so if a behavior is common many groups inclusive of Nazis it can be used to imply that the behavior is something inherent to human beings or human governments or human societies.


That's why Godwin's law is pretty much not rubbish. Compare to, say, Himes' law:

"As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Corvairs approaches 1"

This law, as best as I can determine, is rubbish.


I mean, have you read Unsafe at Any Speed? :P


And a new law is born: La muerte Flacas' law: Try to use a valid NAZI reference and a clueless bastard will mention Godwin's Law. The Laziest form of counter argument.


"[Godwin's law is] an endlessly tiresome way of feigning moral indignation" -- Kevin Drum



How could you reasonably expect me to anticipate your irritability? You've irritated me by failing to see obvious moral indignation, but I wouldn't bother to complain about it. (I'll complain about pettiness, though.)

As it turns out, the person I quoted said exactly what I wanted to say. It doesn't need elaboration.

>It's a complaint at people being lazy in making arguments.

Godwin's law is a very lazy way to make that argument, I would expect.


Pointless thought-terminating cliches brought in hard and fast, was invoking that "law" really necessary?


Via a quick Googling:



Both are reputable.


runjake i owe you a coffee if you ever get to nyc!

thank you!


I remember when the Oregon and California Lottery were passed in the early 80s. I was highly controversial, but advocates really pitched the "more funds for schools!!!" angle.

What legislators didn't tell the public is that after the bills passed, the existing education budget would be cannibalized for other expenditures, thereby not actually improving the education situation and in fact, making funding more volatile.


Why? The masses are fickle, have poor situational awareness, do not have access to classified intelligence, are unaccountable, and are easily manipulated by special interests.

For example, think of how a knee jerk "Should we nuke the Middle East?" vote would've gone immediately after 9/11. Keep in mind, Afghanistan isn't in the Middle East or Arab.



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