Why you should better not use Kensington Locks [Update]

This seems to be pretty old, but I only stumbled over it recently:

Just in case you were considering buying a Kensington lock to secure your laptop while you're away... don't. Some lock picker from (Barry Wels, it seems) has demonstrated how you can open such a lock within seconds, using only a roll of toilet paper and some duct tape. Watch the pretty impressive video (7.5 MB).

Favorite quote from the video: actually you're militarizingminiaturizing the roll of toilet paper.

Well, leaving a laptop unattended in a "hostile" environment is always a stupid idea (with or without a lock, with or without a screen saver with password). One of the many reasons for that is that your box can be owned by an iPod within seconds if you have a Firewire port...

(via Boing Boing)

Update 2006-03-20: I misquoted. He said "miniaturizing" and not "militarizing". Thanks Michael Goetze.

Dear Yorma's...

Dear Yorma's [1],

why do you want to piss off your customers?

The story/rant: /me walks into Yorma's cafe, as I missed my train and had to wait quite a while for the next one. I ask one of the clerks ($clerk1) whether I may plug my laptop in that power socket on the wall in order to charge my laptop battery. $clerk1 says "sure", I order a coffee for ca. 2 Euros (don't remember the exact price), sit down, plug in my laptop and start coding and reading stuff.

After a while $clerk2 looks funny at me multiple times, turns around, talks to someone (her boss, I guess), looks funny at me again etc... I'm a bit confused, but continue to sip my coffee. Then, $clerk2 comes to my table and tells me her boss would like her to tell me that using the power socket is forbidden. I think "wtf?", but ask nicely "why?". Answer: "Because it's forbidden". Yeah, whatever... I shake my head, unplug the laptop, continue drinking my coffee and doing stuff on my laptop until my train arrives...

Before I leave I want to talk to the boss, but $clerk2 tells me that "she's not here right now". So I ask $clerk2 for the reason of me not being allowed to charge my laptop here. After a few stupid (non-)answers, I ask her to tell her boss that I just drank a coffee for >= 2 Euros and that I honestly doubt my laptop charging cost them more than a few cents... And that her boss should probably rethink her PR stategy and her handling of customers a bit. I mean, seriously, what are they afraid of? That I could launch a terrorist attack on the electricity network of the whole town or what?

Oh man, what a crazy world we live in...


[1] Yormas is a snack/cafe chain you find in many train stations here in Germany. They sell stuff and run a small cafe where people can sit and drink a coffee or something.

Data Mining for Terrorists

In his latest blog post Bruce Schneier explains why data mining for terrorist patterns is pretty much useless and unsuccessful, while still killing our privacy.

In the words of Schneier:

We're not trading privacy for security; we're giving up privacy and getting no security in return.

I couldn't agree more.

Apple Safari executes arbitrary shell scripts without asking you for permission

It seems Apple is having more and more severe problems lately, MacOS viruses and worms start popping up and spreading on a larger scale... Michael Lehn has now discovered that Apple Safari can be tricked into automatically downloading and executing arbitrary shell scripts.

No need to mention what harm this can cause, especially if you are stupid enough to browse the web as root (or whatever Apple calls their superuser).

The behaviour to automatically open downloaded "trusted" files in a respective application is the default in Safari, which is obviously not the brightest idea Apple ever had. This is not an Apple-only problem, though. I really wonder why so many people, be it developers or users, are willing to sacrifice security for some crappy "feature"...

(via Digg)

The new German digital identity card, and what the government plans to do with your data...

What kind of sick joke is this? The German government seems to want to sell the personal information of 80 million German citizens to interested companies.

They wanted to introduce a new digital identity card with biometric data and possibly also an RFID chip on it for quite a while now (you know, all those evil terrorists out there, blah blah blah). And now they dream about selling the data records stored on that card for 40-50 cents per record to interested companies? WTF?

I don't think I have to elaborate on the abuse-potential this can have, and on what this means for the privacy of all 80 million citizens affected...

The above article and also another article are a bit fuzzy on the exact details so we'll have to wait until more info is published/leaked, but this is definately an alarming trend/discussion...

(via Anarchaia, Fefe,

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