Russell Brunelle (russellb) wrote,
Russell Brunelle
russellb

Two puzzlers

Here are two computer-related matters I just don't understand:

  1. Why we get anything useful at all after storming a terrorist safe house and seizing computers. TrueCrypt for Windows, and the encryption capabilities built into all modern Linux distributions (e.g. Ubuntu), have been around for quite a while. Both are free, and can be downloaded from anywhere in the world. Both are open source, which provides reasonable assurance there isn't a back door. There is no reason to believe the AES256 encryption method fundamental to each has been secretly broken by any government, and plenty of compelling reasons to believe it hasn't. Both can encrypt the entire storage device the operating system runs on, thereby ensuring sensitive files don't get saved in some temporary file in unencrypted form. Put bluntly, with tools like these there's no reason for any government to expect to get anything useful at all out of a dead person's laptop or flash drive, and I'm stunned they still do.
  2. Why some members of LulzSec and Anonymous consider carrying out a "denial of service" attack to be worth the risk of getting arrested. All this type of attack does is make the target web site harder to access for a little while. It also doesn't require any skill to carry out: all these folks seem to be doing is downloading the Low Orbit Ion Cannon application and typing in the URL of the web site they want to slow down. I can't understand why anyone would consider this something to even be proud of, much less risk their freedom over.
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