Pistorius case and what I gather

If an intruder is in someone’s house in South Africa, it’s negligent lethal force if he/she ends up being shot dead (or killed). So, if you are invited to someone’s  house in South Africa, be sure to ask for a black and white proof of invitation.
It’s absurd. If indeed Pistorius suspected that there is an intruder in his house, and being holed up in the toilet. A normal sane person would have called the police. But no, he had the time to grab his illicit gun, moved towards the bathroom, and then fired four shots.
Probably he “forgot” that he invited his girlfriend over, and thus regarded the person “hiding” in the toilet as an “intruder”.
The legal system is fair. It couldn’t prove that Pistorius knew then who was in the toilet. There isn’t proof beyond reasonable doubt, so he is found guilty of a lighter “negligent”/culpable homicide charge. To Pistorius family members, just shut the hell up, and be happy that he’s not convicted of murder. Don’t try to sugarcoat him anymore because (it’s futile and) you are agravating the pain that the victim’s family is going through now.
“A rotten core is rotten no matter how you try to package it”.

Nearly 5 million Google email accounts & passwords exposed, how?

These accounts were hacked because users tended to reuse their logins and passwords on other sites that had no automated anti-hijacking systems (or security features), e.g. extra loading time for login attempt (i.e. time delay increases total guessing time that will hamper the hack), locking accounts for failed login attempts, token requirement, login only from certain IP addresses, mobile phone authentication code, two steps authentication, and many more.

Parking such sensitive information in unsafe sites will allow hackers to initiate Brute Force Attacks such as password-guessing attack, and the time hackers succeed in their unrestricted attempts depends on the strength of the password (you can predict the amount of time it takes to guess a password [by Gibson Research Corp.]), e.g. stronger password such as: T_*1s+pq9_1 takes approximately 1.83 years to figure out if the guessing attempt is unrestricted by the server.

Fortunately, Google does invest significant effort to ensure user accounts are not compromised. That is why I prefer not to share my Google account and password with other service providers.

However, it’s really difficult to find out what are the security features provided by service providers, e.g. Yahoo, Facebook, Blogs, Forums, etc. There is no standardization of security requirement for service providers, and thus it’s difficult to decide which sites should be avoided.

The expectation that users are the ones who should constantly increase their password strength and frequently change them is flawed. It’s very improbable to change passwords frequently and increase the complexity of passwords. Human brain is not programmed to be that “dextrous”. There should be a better way to authenticate user identity. That will be the million dollar question.

Just a thought.

References

  1. Brute force attack (by System Administration Database)
  2. WordPress – All in one WP security and firewall

Killing someone you loved, Oscar Pistorius, she had no chance to survive your shots

Oscar Pistorius will not be found guilty for murder (or premeditated murder) of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He was found (1) to act negligently when he fatally shot Steenkamp, and (2) acted hastily & with excessive force. Culpable homicide normally carries five years in South Africa.

Well, although Pistorius will escape the murder charge (normally 25 years behind bars), he won’t be able to commit the same atrocity again without raising red flags. That fact is consolation for the lost of life and the light sentence that will be meted out for the murder (whether intentional or not). It’s unfortunate that Steenkamp had to die the way she did. The killing was clearly not in self-defense and I can never accept/tolerate that (even though it’s classified as culpable homicide) especially considering that deadly weapon was used.

Steenkamp had no chance of surviving the shots (four shots were fired), even though prosecutors failed to prove that the shooting was premeditated. Just look at the toilet space (it’s a dead end that fit a person). To shoot four times around the middle of the door would be very likely to hit the intended target. If he had no intention to kill, he could have aimed up at the door and opened fire at the ceiling. It was rage with intention to kill when he fired those shots (rather than to warn/frighten). Well, that will be the last person he will be able to kill and get away with a light sentence.

Bathroom and toilet layout; the spot where Pistorius fired the four shots

Bathroom and toilet layout; the spot where Pistorius fired the four shots (Figures taken from espn.co.uk)

Sequence of events and the spot where Pistorius fired the four shots

Sequence of events and the spot where Pistorius fired the four shots. Figure taken from capitalbay.com.

I don’t know Oscar Pistorius really well to be bias against him. I’m writing this piece as reminder that although justice might be lenient at times, it does hamper murderers like Pistorius from repeating the offense. He could escape with lighter culpable homicide this time, but if he ever commit the same crime again, previous conviction will weigh in on him.

Just a thought.

Fw: Unruly passengers on board flights should be banned from flight

There should be a system whereby dangerous (by other definition) passengers should be banned from flight (or at least permitted to fly under certain circumstances and supervision). Here is an interest article pertaining to this topic (Unruly passengers on board flights should be banned from flight).

I don’t entirely blame MAS airline or Malaysia for MH370 crisis

The biggest problem that is faced by Malaysia and families of crews and travellers on the missing MH370 plane is knowing the whereabouts of the plane. The problem? The transponder might have been switched off! That is the main factor that hampered effort of several countries who chipped in to help with the search and rescue. How I felt knowing that transponders and ELTs could be manually turned off? Flabbergasted!

I blame air plane manufacturers for allowing captains/pilots to have the access to turn off transponders at their discretion (if not whims; read about manual override of transponder and ELT). If the rationale was to allow plane to go invisible for safety reason (esp. during time of war), how frequent is that an advantage in normal times? See what it has caused us in MH370 case (if indeed the plane was hijacked). That is a big negligence in the manufacturers’ part for providing a loop-hole for hijackers to steal.

Sciencedirect.com is down for some time now…

Not sure if it’s affecting just me or others, but I’m getting to dislike this message “sorry, your request can’t be processed due to a system problem. Contact the help desk if the problem persist. [SD-008]” and a variant “Sorry, your request could not be processed because the format of the URL was incorrect. Contact the Help Desk if the problem persists. [SD-001]”.

What does that mean? How do I contact help desk?

If you Google with the error string, you get a lot of hits about 51k. Isn’t Elsevier embarrassed?

The error message means nothing helpful. It’s it server down or login problem or restricted access etc? What is it?

I guess I will have to spend some time deciphering the error message and figure out how to contact “help desk”.

Update: I figured out what is the meaning of the error message. In short, it means “pay up if you want it”. When I accessed the site using my institution’s network, it worked flawlessly… I stick by my word that the error message mean zilch to me. Nada! What is the use of error message with code [001] [008] if users can’t decode it? At least provide a weblink beside the error message to direct users to make a report.

Sorry, your request could not be processed because the format of the URL was incorrect. Contact the Help Desk if the problem persists. [SD-001]

Yahoo News Bohoo Comments

I’m not a fan of Yahoo News, not because the news sucks. The news are impartial most of the time, even though sometimes they are unpalatable. So, I’m not referring to the news section in Yahoo.

I’m referring to the comments part. It seems that the comments are always on the negative. They are mostly filled with anger, frustration, insults, sarcasm and instigation. Very rarely there are anything positive in the comments, which is really sad.

I would guess that to these commentators, Yahoo News is a sort of venting area for frustration and anger; and a place where they will get likes (or encouragement) if it suit the majority of commentators’ sentiment or wrath if it doesn’t.

News is already full with negativity, e.g. natural disaster, crime rate, economic slump, scandals etc. due to it’s specific and biassed highlights of these events as accordance to general marketing observation, “bad news attracts a lot more attention”.

I guess it is more intuitive for me (and majority of less angry people) to shun the comment section when we come across Yahoo News. If need be, I would just “comment-and-run” without looking back at the response. At least I marked the section with a little piece of my thought on news of interest even though it would be overwhelmed with negative comments.

Lastly, if you need constructive criticism, don’t visit Yahoo News comment section. However, if you need to know Yahoo readers sentiment, visit at your own risk.