Monday, March 25, 2019

Cyber pain

Not -- although the timing might have had you jump from my subject line to a mis-impression -- a comment on Russian Internet trolls, the 2016 election, ballot-infrastructure hacking, and/or the Mueller report. (I don't discuss anything remotely akin to  politics in this venue.) Different cyber pain ....

Not, IMO, a currency
Are you still mystically drawn to the faddish non-money "asset" that is cryptocurrency? Perhaps this will give you pause: "Crypto Mystery: Quadriga's Wallets Are Empty, Putting Fate Of $137 Million In Doubt." (Who's Quadriga? you ask. Until recently, Canada's largest cryptocurrency exchange. Not that I live in Canada, but if I did I'd rather trust my assets to the currency issued by the Canadian finance ministry.) A key article snippet:
The money was there — it was just locked away. At least that's what the QuadrigaCX cryptocurrency exchange had been saying, before an auditor revealed it had finally accessed digital wallets set up by Quadriga's late CEO Gerald Cotten — and that instead of holding $137 million, the wallets were empty, drained in 2018.

Six "cold wallets" Quadriga used to securely store cryptocurrency offline were expected to hold millions. But they were emptied out in April, months before Cotten's death was reported, "bringing the balances down to nil," audit firm Ernst & Young says.
Speaking of good times, how's your experience been with Windows 10 Update? That "service" continues to be problematical. As in: "Microsoft Issues Windows 10 Upgrade Warning." And a key snippet from this article:
Picked up by the ever-excellent AskWoody, the latest update for Windows 10 (patch KB4482887) has crippled gaming performance on the platform across both Nvidia and AMD GPUs. Microsoft has now confirmed the problem and issued an official warning about the update.

"After installing KB4482887, users may notice graphics and mouse performance degradation with desktop gaming when playing certain games (eg: Destiny 2),” explained Microsoft, with the company saying it is working on a fix. 
And in breaking news ... "Facebook stored hundreds of millions of passwords in plain text." And a quote here?
... a string of errors led certain Facebook-branded apps to leave passwords accessible to as many as 20,000 company employees.
"A string of errors" and Facebook in the same sentence. What are the chances?

Also in breaking news is a suspected software fault to explain two recent plane crashes. And if the "upgrade" didn't cause said crashes, that "feature" generated enough pilot angst that Boeing is responding regardless. See "Boeing to submit fix for 737 MAX system suspected of causing deadly crash."
Although it will take months to determine the exact cause of both crashes, investigators in the Lion case have honed in on the MCAS automated anti-stalling system designed to point the nose of the plane downward if it is in danger of stalling, or losing lift.

And finally (if far less dramatically) on the topic of flaky software ... why does the layout of posts done in Blogspot (as this blog is) so often not match what's shown in the supposedly WYSIWYG editor? Why do blank lines not shown in the editor proliferate in the live version of a post? I suppose these particular glitches don't truly harm anything -- but the messed-up, unfixable formatting sure is annoying.

To err is human ... and programming remains a human-performed job.


jaguar said...

Sir, I feel anxious about technology advances too. Though I can't bear in Meiji era life like my grand pa, I would love slower progress. Mobiles become outdated too fast and new ones consume band width too much.

Edward M. Lerner said...

The rate of change *can* be a challenge. My issue in the post, however, is slightly different: reliance upon change (in this instance, upon software) that is too subject to error and/or vulnerability.

jaguar said...

I misunderstood. I'm sorry.
It is good that highly paid engineers do not make mistakes. Where are G'woth? Or may be Proteus instead.

Edward M. Lerner said...

No apology necessary. Your concern is valid as well.

Indeed, I'd expect either the Gw'oth or Proteus to do a better job of developing software :-)

(For those to whom the Gw'oth/Proteus mentions are cryptic: these are references to the Fleet of Worlds novels.)